Apparently I live under a rock when it comes to twitter, because I didn’t know about Jomny Sun until he was a guest on the podcast Another Round. Before we even get to his book, I want to recommend following him on twitter (It will add some heart to your feed) and listening to his episode on Another Round (it gives some fascinating background on the author and how the twitter account came to be).
Now on to the book itself. This book is a bit different from what I usually read and review. everyone’s an aliebn is a graphic novel–basically a picture book for adults. It begins with Jomny, an aliebn (alien) being dropped off on earth to study and learn about humabns (humans). His own kind thinks he’s a little weird, so they don’t mind leaving him all alone on this strange planet. They do come and check up on him from time-to-time, but tends to look down on him when they do.
You’ll notice quickly in this book that there are many misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Rather than distract from the story, it adds an extra level of innocence to jomny, our adorable alien protagonist, as it gives him a child-like quality.
As jomny explores earth, he encounters many types of “humans” in the form of trees, bees, snails, birds, eggs, frogs, butterflies, etc. Even Nothing is personified. It’s a little preposterous as all of these “humans,” even the plants can talk, but delightfully silly way.
That being said, jomny’s observations of earth quickly go from simple introductions to his new earthling friends to an exploration of more existential questions. Why are humans always more concerned with what they will become than what they are now? Can you ever be truly happy if you can’t share your happiness with anyone? Is constant work fulfilling? Is darkness eternal?
I would almost say this book is hopefully nihilistic, which is pretty close to my personal life philosophy. I mean, look at this page:
Everything can be terrible, but you can’t let that stop you from experiencing the small joys in life. Go ahead and enjoy that bouncy house or that cup of coffee or whatever it is that helps you get through the trash-fire that is life.
The story is also incredibly encouraging. For example:
It is easy to feel like a failure when comparing yourself to others; but everyone, including you, does amazing things all the time. Many of those great achievements simply go unnoticed by most of the population. In fact, I would even say that the great achievements of some wouldn’t even be considered achievements by others. For example, when you struggle with mental illness, small things like showering or leaving the house can be big achievements, but others see stuff like that as a small daily chore. Your audience may be as small as just yourself, but that does not detract from the greatness your achievement holds.
To put it plainly, this book is full of basic yet adorable drawings accompanied by simple yet profound observations about the world. It’s a quick read, but one you’ll want to flip through again after you’ve finished. I particularly think this book is one to pick up when you feel lonely or down; it will cheer you up in an instant. It did for me. So what are you waiting for? Go find this book. Or at least follow Sun’s twitter account.