book review: Darkroom: a memoir in black and white

“Darkroom stands out not only for Weaver’s lovely black and white artwork, but also for her unique perspective on the South during the upheaval of the Civil Rights movement.”~PW

title: Darkroom: a memoir in black and white

author: Lila Quintero Weaver

date: University of Alabama Press; 2012


Darkroom is a graphic memoir of Weaver’s childhood in Alabama. It’s an unexpected story of an Argentinean family living in Alabama in the 1960s. Through Weaver’s eyes, we see how she and her family try to fit into a society that has prescribed places defined by whiteness and blackness. I felt like Weaver was a bit naïve in assuming no racism when discussing from where her parents came in Argentina, but having spent so little time there perhaps she missed its subtleties particularly when contrasted to the overt practices in Alabama.

Using both words and images, Weaver describes the double life she led in elementary school and then the more intentional path she followed in high school.  Weaver embeds her eyesight as a symbol of her changing perception of things around her.

Darkroom adds an important dimension to the documentation of the civil rights era in the south where there were other ethnicities present besides Blacks and Whites. There are things she noticed as somewhat an outside that others didn’t pay attention to and because of that, she offers details that I had never read about before. In the final chapter, the author describes her visit as an adult to visit Argentina. For me, it was an awkward transition. I think it did serve to illustrate how important her heritage is to her, but not much else.

author interview