- Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (September 22, 2011)
- ISBN-13: 978-0761163589
Back-of-the-book blurb: In her first book for adults, the artist Sophie Blackall creates a deeply felt, poignant book about love—a book that captures the mystery, the yearning, at times the cosmic humor behind the “what if?” of a missed connection.
Like a message in a bottle, a “missed connection” classified (usually posted on a website) is an attempt however far-fetched, by one stranger to reach another on the strength of a remembered glance, smile, or blue hat. The anonymous messages are hopeful and hopeless, funny and sad. Ms. Blackall has turned some of the most evocative (or hilarious) of them into exquisite paintings.
She Is Too Fond of Books review: What a fun book! The SIFFOB family “knew” Sophie Blackall from her illustrations of the middle grade Ivy and Bean series as well as the Big Red Lollipop picture book, and I was thrilled to find her work in a more “adult” book. Blackall, in fact, authored and illustrated Missed Connections, a wonderful collection of bits and pieces from the Craigslist column of the same name. The Craigslist “Missed Connections” are a sort of online personals columns – not random “likes walks on the beach; must love dogs” searches, but searches for specific people whose paths crossed.
In a thoroughly enjoyable 15-page introduction, Blackall explains how she came to write the book – after “discovering” the column in a overheard conversation, she spent hours perusing the listings:
It was akin to frittering away hours on eBay when I have a deadline, or looking at donkey breeders’ websites when I have no intention of buying a donkey. But then I remembered the golden rule:
“If you like doing something, find a way to call it work.”
Blackall began a blog illustrating some of her favorite postings from the Craigslist columns. She was surprised and pleased by the response she received – readers confessed to reading the Missed Connections column as fervently as Blackall does; they thanked her for brightening a dim day with her whimsical illustrations; they asked her for help in finding a lost love.
Blackall, and others, find Missed Connections compelling; we wonder about the reasons for this instant attraction. What was it about the tattooed girl, the man in striped suit, or the hipster with the pink-collared poodle that caused the writer to say “I wish I had spoken to you”? We want to know what happens next – do they find each other? Is there a date? A second date? Sophie Black admits that:
I have a confession to make.
I don’t really want to know. I like a happy ending as well as the next person, but I love the mystery and the uncertainty, and the electric current of possibility.
She has honed the columns and pulled the most electrifying possibilities to illustrate using ink and watercolor. Formatted with typeset text on the left page,and whimsical interpretations on the right, the book begs to be browsed. Will you read it cover-to-cover, or page through to an illustration that calls out to be explored? Blackall hand letters the text on her painting; after a few pages, I found myself preferring to read the painting rather than the typeset text, adding to the personality of the piece.
These Missed Connections occur on trains, at parties, in bookstores. Eyes meet, glances are exchanged, fingertips brush against a sleeve. But, there’s no follow through, no exchange of phone numbers or email addresses, sometimes nothing more than an unkindled spark.
This a collection of love stories that might have been; or, of those that might yet be. With a fine balance of sensitivity and whimsy, Blackall honors – rather than mocks – those possibilities, and is a nice match for anyone who has ever wondered “what if?”.
Missed Connections is the first book authored by Sophie Blackall. She has illustrated over twenty books for children, including the Ivy and Bean series, Ruby’s Wish (winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award), and Meet Wild Boars (winner of a Founder’s Award from the Society of Illustrators). Additionally, her editorial illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many magazines. Visit her Missed Connections blog and “like” her Facebook page.