Don't Go Where I Can't FollowBook |
Gone but not forgotten.
Between 2005 and 2006, Anders Nilsen gathered postcards, photographs, and other mementos of his relationship to Cheryl Weaver, his one-time fiancée who had died less than a year before, and incorporated them into a memorial book. Roughly six years later, after Nilsen initially declined a second printing, his labor of love, Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, has finally been re-released. The book's first half has a carefree attitude that shows little awareness of the tragedy ahead: For example, a letter from the author to his sister playfully recounts a disastrous camping trip undertaken by the couple. The tone, however, shifts drastically as Cheryl is diagnosed with cancer, and her time together with Nilsen becomes a slow, painful countdown to the inevitable. Although the book's latter half is significantly more sober, it is never short of involving, a window into the raw thoughts of someone coping with a loved one's terminal illness, whose emotions run the gamut from shock and confusion to bitterness, and ultimately, acceptance. Only a small portion of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow consists of actual comics; however, what cartoons Nilsen provides are as deeply sincere as his best-known work. In his 2004 graphic novel Dogs and Water, he found poignancy in simple gestures, often through the manipulation of pacing and minimal use of dialogue. There is such a moment in this book as well: the act of saying farewell to Cheryl, which Nilsen illustrates in a solemn sequence that extends across multiple pages. Despite its time out of print, this work remains a respectful and heartfelt tribute to a lost love.