The book “Missed Connections” made by Sophie Blackall is a collection of illustrated love stories. The title conveys the message of missed opportunities for building or having relationships with another person. But although the title is Missed Connections, the collection is not merely composed with relationships that are missed; there are about three illustrations included in the book which reveal the magnificence of found and established love. The message of each illustration is sometimes hopeful, and sometimes hopeless; sometimes funny, and sometimes sad. But needless to say, many people have their own impressions towards the set of illustrations included in the book.
Even so, I also have my own impression regarding Blackall’s collection. First, putting an evaluation on the title, I can verily say that what the illustrations are conveying is reality and not something abstract or fictional. I like the caption of the title – perhaps, the collection itself – since it is true that there are many times a person is given an opportunity – meeting other people in public areas like parks, airport, malls and even subways (one of the places illustrated in the book) – yet at the end misses the chance to build up connections, which could somehow lead into special kind of relationships. Another thing that I liked about the collection is that the paintings are extraordinary, fine, and full of feelings. Each character in the paintings reveals some ideas like being alone, or something like looking for a relationship; there are also characters that show differences from other individuals, which on the other hand, convey what often makes relationships missed by many; and of course, there are also characters that clearly show their found relationships. However, there is just one thing that I dislike about in the collection. It is the inclusion of gay relationship. In a Question & Answer session with Blackall, she mentions that “Missed Connections are popular with straight and gay men and women.” (qtd. in Rebecca, “A Q&A with Sophie Blackall, illustrator of Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found”).
However, here are some impressions of people whom I asked regarding this collection. One says that some of the paintings offer commiseration for those who had ‘missed connections’. Another comment was that hope is one thing the illustrations covey; there is hope that though ‘missed connections’ occur, there are still more people whom one can have relationship with. Another says that the collection consists of illustrations offering voyeuristic amusement. One says that ‘could-have-been’ couples somehow become more real as they were painted fancifully. One says that the paintings like Scrabble Tattoo on Roof and the Bonsai Girl (page 71 of the book) show cleverness of Blackall’s imagination of finding relationship. Some say that the illustration like the ‘We shared a Bear Suit...” conveys more romantic found relationships, since it promotes sharing concern of the couple for one another. Some say that the illustration “Nose Bleed on the F” on page 31 shows the magnificent and mysterious work of a destined love. Many simply say that all the collection conveys is the nature of love at first sight. They say that there are illustrations included in the book which are funny yet full of meaning. One example is the “I Bought you that Milkshake, You Just Don’t Realize it” painting; it looks funny that the boy seems satisfied drinking the milkshake not noticing that it was from the girl behind him while the girl’s appearance expresses her deep feelings about the ‘missed connection’. Some also find it interesting that the illustration “How Come No-one Ever ‘Misses’ Me?” on page 66 is something that applies to lonely people, who are not yet described as having chances for relationships. Another observation some people had regarding the “We Shared a Bear Suit” is that both the couple had incomplete part of the suit, which clearly asserts that they really belong to one another; to be complete, they have to be together.
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