Marilyn Yu’s Relations That Suck: The Story of Eva and Dries is a pretty picture book for grownups. Yu may be familiar to our readers as the designer behind Plutonium Clothing, and her designs are certainly at the forefront of this fairy tale. Lushly photographed by Norma Cordova and Angela DeCenzo, the book is far more about pictures than words. There is a story here, the tale of a friendship between a guilt-ridden vampire and a spider with wanderlust, but in the way of all fables it is of necessity short and to the point.
The fable is a difficult medium to work in, and Yu struggles with it a bit more than she does with the fashion (which is flawless in every frame). For a fable to work, it must be concise enough to read in one sitting, yet carry many layers above and beyond those which are presented. I think she makes a commendable effort here, with a story whose connotations touch on the dangers (and perhaps pleasures) of guilt, the balance of power in friendships, and whether or not a spider is ever really a proper roomate.
Overall, however, the strength of the book is visual: vampires in pretty clothing. And, really, how far can you go wrong with that as your premise?