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Roots

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SHE WENT BACK TO THE OLD WORLD TO FIND HER ROOTS, NEVER SUSPECTING THAT SHE WOULD LAY DOWN NEW ONES. After a messy year of heartbreak and setbacks, Tara sets off to Ireland in search of clues to her family's ancestry, but what she found wasn't at all what she expected. Some of it has to do with the lack of records, but a lot has to do with John, the charming cartoonist she SHE WENT BACK TO THE OLD WORLD TO FIND HER ROOTS, NEVER SUSPECTING THAT SHE WOULD LAY DOWN NEW ONES. After a messy year of heartbreak and setbacks, Tara sets off to Ireland in search of clues to her family's ancestry, but what she found wasn't at all what she expected. Some of it has to do with the lack of records, but a lot has to do with John, the charming cartoonist she met on Twitter. Wrapped in real family history and set amidst the natural beauty of the Irish countryside, Roots is a classic romantic-comedy adventure and a page-turning account of a young woman finding herself.


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SHE WENT BACK TO THE OLD WORLD TO FIND HER ROOTS, NEVER SUSPECTING THAT SHE WOULD LAY DOWN NEW ONES. After a messy year of heartbreak and setbacks, Tara sets off to Ireland in search of clues to her family's ancestry, but what she found wasn't at all what she expected. Some of it has to do with the lack of records, but a lot has to do with John, the charming cartoonist she SHE WENT BACK TO THE OLD WORLD TO FIND HER ROOTS, NEVER SUSPECTING THAT SHE WOULD LAY DOWN NEW ONES. After a messy year of heartbreak and setbacks, Tara sets off to Ireland in search of clues to her family's ancestry, but what she found wasn't at all what she expected. Some of it has to do with the lack of records, but a lot has to do with John, the charming cartoonist she met on Twitter. Wrapped in real family history and set amidst the natural beauty of the Irish countryside, Roots is a classic romantic-comedy adventure and a page-turning account of a young woman finding herself.

30 review for Roots

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    "'Roots.' The word seems to have taken on a new meaning. It's become less and less about my family roots, and more about where I'll lay down my own." Roots is Tara O'Connor's first long form graphic project, a memoir. It's kind of a book within a book, focused as it is in part on a kickstarter project that was successful, yay, preceding this book, a project about O'Connor's "finding her roots," in Ireland. Which wasn't as successful as she had hoped in making dramatic discoveries about her family "'Roots.' The word seems to have taken on a new meaning. It's become less and less about my family roots, and more about where I'll lay down my own." Roots is Tara O'Connor's first long form graphic project, a memoir. It's kind of a book within a book, focused as it is in part on a kickstarter project that was successful, yay, preceding this book, a project about O'Connor's "finding her roots," in Ireland. Which wasn't as successful as she had hoped in making dramatic discoveries about her family in Ireland. This book begins with O'Connor being divorced, getting the kickstarter going and getting out of the country. To Ireland, where she spends most of her time, a month, touring with a cartoonist friend she met on twitter. So that happens, they find out a few small things about her genealogy, and develop a friendship that morphs into a romantic relationship. We don't learn much about Ireland, and in truth don't learn much about the guy, but it is a nice and hopeful romantic story about love's return. It feels short, like too much is left out--Jersey diner adventures! Halloween! Christmas! NYC! Dublin!--but it mainly just mentions these things briefly, without many anecdotes, and doesn't go deep enough, but hey, it is just the beginning of a relationship, so it can't be that deep yet I guess. I liked the energy and the cute art and the cover with the red hair which seems to suggest another kind of "roots," ha.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    3.5 Stars This is a very cute and nice graphic novel. I was expecting a little more facts on Tara's past and her ancestors but I'm also really happy that the story took another turn and showed us how in this journey she unravels her own future. I also really liked how the word "roots" took on a whole other meaning in the story, it was such a sweet concept.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Mmm... I wanted to like this graphic novel, I really did. I went into it expecting a travelogue of Ireland, but it quickly morphed away from that. I'm guessing the author is not comfortable with landscapes, because those were mostly avoided (which is half the point of Ireland). And despite having a data dump of the author's family background, I felt like she didn't do enough research before going to Ireland and therefore sort of fumbled around out there. The book quickly morphs into a love story Mmm... I wanted to like this graphic novel, I really did. I went into it expecting a travelogue of Ireland, but it quickly morphed away from that. I'm guessing the author is not comfortable with landscapes, because those were mostly avoided (which is half the point of Ireland). And despite having a data dump of the author's family background, I felt like she didn't do enough research before going to Ireland and therefore sort of fumbled around out there. The book quickly morphs into a love story when she arrived in Ireland (from the moment John is introduced you know what's up - I suspect she knew what was up before she went over there too...). Unfortunately I think she was bound by her Kickstarter to try to make this into a story about her roots, so all these themes get mashed together awkwardly. Most of the book is spent detailing what she did each day of her trip, things you don't really need to know. Even as the rewrite of the original graphic novel with "two years later" addition, this book still falls short. Still, the bits where she discussed her past relationship were spot on and hit close to home. I would have loved to see more of that level of honesty and thoughtfulness in the rest of the book. I look forward to seeing what else she creates, especially without the restrictions placed on her by the Kickstarter campaign.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    Roots reads like Tara O'Connor wrote a book because she started a Kickstarter saying she'd write a book. She flies to Ireland, ostensibly to uncover her family tree after a painful divorce, but instead ends up in the welcoming arms of a local fellow. They fall in love and stuff and long distance relationships suck and...wait, wasn't this book about Tara's family tree? Every 50 pages, there's a little blip about her ancestors, but most of those sentences end with question marks. Sure, I Roots reads like Tara O'Connor wrote a book because she started a Kickstarter saying she'd write a book. She flies to Ireland, ostensibly to uncover her family tree after a painful divorce, but instead ends up in the welcoming arms of a local fellow. They fall in love and stuff and long distance relationships suck and...wait, wasn't this book about Tara's family tree? Every 50 pages, there's a little blip about her ancestors, but most of those sentences end with question marks. Sure, I understand that maybe Tara was too busy falling in love to complete her assignment, but the book feels shortchanged because the actual "roots" elements are so few and far between. And the love story itself is fine in that the love feels real, but it's also not very exciting since about half the pages involve Tara and her beau hanging out in an Irish hotel room watching movies. Riveting! Besides that, there's also almost no sense that things won't work out. Tara goes to Ireland, finds a mate, lives happily ever after. I appreciate that this is all good for Tara, but it's not really a fully realized story, and it's definitely not a story about anyone's roots.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    The searching for your heritage thing was so pushed aside that she really should have just gone with the Ireland romance part. Because neither felt 100% explored, and if the heritage was removed, well, then more romance time, right? Also, if the roots were so important, I family tree would have GREATLY helped.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andreia

    "Roots." The word seems to have taken on a new meaning. It's become less and less about my family roots, and more about where I'll lay down my own. I think this is exactly what I liked the most about this book. It wasn't the fact that it was really cute and relatable but how Tara's 'roots' were sprouting as her story unfolded, instead of being already deep underneath the ground. It was how her future ended up mattering more than her past because that's exactly how life works. Because it is a "Roots." The word seems to have taken on a new meaning. It's become less and less about my family roots, and more about where I'll lay down my own. I think this is exactly what I liked the most about this book. It wasn't the fact that it was really cute and relatable but how Tara's 'roots' were sprouting as her story unfolded, instead of being already deep underneath the ground. It was how her future ended up mattering more than her past because that's exactly how life works. Because it is a true story, it only touched me more, way more than I was expecting. The long-distance relationship, the self-doubting, and even the doctor's scene forced me to remember pivotal moments of my own life and I found myself smiling and tearing up a little as I read it. I wasn't really planning on reminiscing about those moments anytime soon but that's what a good book can do: make you feel and remember even when you're not planning on it. Roots is about overcoming really hard times and finding yourself in the middle of your own mess. It's about all the new possibilities that come with being brave, and curious about yourself. And it's about love and family and how things may not go the way you want just to go the way you need. It is true and as real as it can get. The artwork is beautiful in a dorky way, which is exactly my favourite kind of beautiful. The drawings seem to have been drawn in just one sitting (and that's a compliment). There are no gaps that should have been filled and the style is consistent and whole-hearted. You can feel how important this book is to the artist by just looking at it and I think that's very special. Tara O'Connor threw her heart into this memoir and I'm grateful to have had the chance to have taken a peek into her life. Thank you, IDW Publishing, for sending me this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    DJL

    Really 3.5 stars, it was a pleasant graphic memoir.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was fine. I adore auto-bio and enjoyed the exploration of someone else's self-discovery, but the presentation was a little lackluster, almost perfunctory, for me. Art was good - I like a good thick line. I feel like this would be a story I'd rather hear her tell me, than read about.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica-Robyn

    This graphic novel memoir covers the story of a young woman fresh off the heals of the heartbreaking end to a relationship, looking to find purpose and thinking that the place to start is a new project about re-discovering her Irish roots. This was a random pull for me from the library shelves, based purely off the cover alone. Happy accident that I love travel memoirs. So that being said, I really wanted to love this story. But throughout the whole graphic novel you can feel O'Connor's This graphic novel memoir covers the story of a young woman fresh off the heals of the heartbreaking end to a relationship, looking to find purpose and thinking that the place to start is a new project about re-discovering her Irish roots. This was a random pull for me from the library shelves, based purely off the cover alone. Happy accident that I love travel memoirs. So that being said, I really wanted to love this story. But throughout the whole graphic novel you can feel O'Connor's difficulty that her trip wasn't turning out as planned. I feel like that her journey should have been more of the focus rather than trying to deliver on what she had initially promised for the premise of the book. However, knowing that this book was crowd funded makes the pull focus make much more sense. I would love to see what this book would have looked like if it was written in past tense rather than created while it was happening. I think there is a lot of potential there that was overshadowed by lingering obligations. I also wasn't a huge fan of the way the story relied on a narration to get the details of the scene across. I feel like O'Connor's art is strong enough that she could have let it do more of the heavy lifting. I know I probably say this too much, but I really enjoy this book's particular art style. The way O'Connor does character expressions and full body illustrations is fantastic. It brings in emotion in unexpected places. I also just fell in love with how she shades all of her panels. It gives this feel that the book is in full colour, even though it is only in select gray tones. I would say, pick this up if you have it at hand for a story about personal growth, but don't expect to be blown out of the water by the storytelling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sundry

    A bit thin on story line.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Senteney

    3.5 stars. I liked this book, but found it somewhat slow, it did get better as it went along. The graphics are excellent, and children could also use it as a coloring book. It is basically an authors story of her own journey, and her visit to Ireland, which leads to romance. It was ok as I said just too slow paced for my taste.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J. Deans

    ROOTS is a very personal memoir that is more about personal growth than the life story of a young artist. The book began as a journal of O'Connor's trip to her family's homeland, Irealand, after her life took a stark turn. However, it became a chronicle of change, as she struggled to find answers and purpose in a life she thought she knew. Comics became more than just a passion, but an outlet. The weeks that followed were something of a whirlwind, and O'Connor found herself exploring her family ROOTS is a very personal memoir that is more about personal growth than the life story of a young artist. The book began as a journal of O'Connor's trip to her family's homeland, Irealand, after her life took a stark turn. However, it became a chronicle of change, as she struggled to find answers and purpose in a life she thought she knew. Comics became more than just a passion, but an outlet. The weeks that followed were something of a whirlwind, and O'Connor found herself exploring her family less, and her own future more. ROOTS is O'Connor's first long-form graphic novel, after a number of single comics, and features the themes of self-exploration and wonder that run throughout her work. O'Connor is developing a body of work that is perfect for teens and young adults who are looking for stories that are a growth in maturity and themes bridging the works of Raina Telgemaier and Roz Chast. O'Connor has worked for years to tell her stories, and she is on the verge of "overnight success" often found by long-time creators with a strong voice in search of an audience. Her art is full and evocative, paced and delineated with a skill that belies her age. Despite the somewhat heavy stories she sometimes tells, Tara infuses her work with a humor and ease that make her stories easy to get lost in while reading. ROOTS is no different, and even though you feel as if you are eavesdropping on a sometimes heart-heavy, sometimes goofy story, you can't put it down. Thankfully, an extended edition is due in the Fall of 2017, giving readers a chance to share in even more of O'Connor's life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    DNF. Picking this up I was very wary. Right off the bat I was a tad annoyed with the title. It felt like with an already well-known piece of literature with that title, one with significantly more gravity, you could have picked something else, but okay. It was a tone deaf choice. Granted, I did not get beyond halfway, but hardly any of the story is actually about discovering the author’s heritage. It’s mostly about how she hoodwinked a bunch of people into crowdfunding a trip to Ireland to DNF. Picking this up I was very wary. Right off the bat I was a tad annoyed with the title. It felt like with an already well-known piece of literature with that title, one with significantly more gravity, you could have picked something else, but okay. It was a tone deaf choice. Granted, I did not get beyond halfway, but hardly any of the story is actually about discovering the author’s heritage. It’s mostly about how she hoodwinked a bunch of people into crowdfunding a trip to Ireland to hookup with someone she met on Twitter, then subsequently wrote an unremarkable story as a result. The art is okay, not particularly unique but consistent. I am happy the author got her happy ending after a divorce, but this story is boring, its financing troubling, and it doesn’t really add anything to the genre of memoir graphic novels.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    As someone who fell in love with Ireland, I fucking loved this book. It reminded me of a mix of Lucy Knisley's work and Craig Thompson's Blankets. I just wish it was longer. It's a self-publish book, so you can get it on the author's website!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    This was a really nice read focusing on one woman's rise after a devastating but necessary blow. Post-divorce, she begins her story having moved back home and not knowing what to do next. But slowly, surely, she finds a purpose as she realizes that what she wants to do next is discover her heritage. In Ireland, she meets up with an online friend who helps her get acquainted with the land and culture. But as the days pass and their time together gets shorter and shorter, they realize that perhaps This was a really nice read focusing on one woman's rise after a devastating but necessary blow.  Post-divorce, she begins her story having moved back home and not knowing what to do next.  But slowly, surely, she finds a purpose as she realizes that what she wants to do next is discover her heritage.   In Ireland, she meets up with an online friend who helps her get acquainted with the land and culture.  But as the days pass and their time together gets shorter and shorter, they realize that perhaps he's not so much a friend and tour guide, but something more.   I liked this graphic novel just fine, though I wish that O'Connor had delved a little deeper into either the topic of genealogy or romance.  But as a plot that goes from luckless in love to head over heels and happy, it works just fine.  It's fairly surface level as a graphic novel goes, but as a memoir, it's a little harder to judge!   Overall, I certainly enjoyed it and would certainly recommend it to those who are interested in Ireland, romance, and finding one's self in a foreign country. Review cross-listed here!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I've always wanted to go to Ireland ever since I was kid, so I thought it would be fun to get a taste of it through a graphic novel. As someone who is not quite familiar with their family background/history and who is curious to learn more about their ancestors, I was ecstatic to see someone who was inspired to go on a similar journey (and illustrated it through beautiful illustrations)! Ultimately, this wasn't the main topic behind this memoir, which I didn't mind because I love a cute romance I've always wanted to go to Ireland ever since I was kid, so I thought it would be fun to get a taste of it through a graphic novel. As someone who is not quite familiar with their family background/history and who is curious to learn more about their ancestors, I was ecstatic to see someone who was inspired to go on a similar journey (and illustrated it through beautiful illustrations)! Ultimately, this wasn't the main topic behind this memoir, which I didn't mind because I love a cute romance story anyway, but this book touched on so many things that I wish were expanded on a bit more. There was just too many surface level details and I'm someone who craves for a more deeper analysis. I wanted to learn more about her long distance relationship, I wanted to learn more about her trip to Ireland, I wanted to learn more about her family and upbringing, I just wanted more! It's a nice quick read though (I read it in one sitting) and the illustrations are really nice, so it was still a pretty enjoyable reading experience.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Quick read. A cute love story book, but with a bit of darkness to it. Plot: It takes awhile to pull together the whole picture or situation in this book. By the end, you can see that her ex husband had neglected her physically for sone reason, but I would have liked that to have been made a bigger deal. It sounded to me that her relationship with her ex produced PTSD, this is especially true as she flashbacks to the neglectful husband’s actions or lack thereof. It made me wish that she’d gone Quick read. A cute love story book, but with a bit of darkness to it. Plot: It takes awhile to pull together the whole picture or situation in this book. By the end, you can see that her ex husband had neglected her physically for sone reason, but I would have liked that to have been made a bigger deal. It sounded to me that her relationship with her ex produced PTSD, this is especially true as she flashbacks to the neglectful husband’s actions or lack thereof. It made me wish that she’d gone deeper into her relationship with her ex husband as well as the background of how she met John. For example, I was not even aware that she was married until she was at court dealing with the divorce papers. Artistic Style: Beautifully drawn. Engaging. Even a non-comics person can see the background in tradition, but she’s put her own spin on the style. She’s drawing herself in this book since it’s a memoir, but I don’t see the correlation between her Goodreads photo and how she drew herself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Emory

    Light. Thoughtful. Nostalgic. I certainly enjoyed this graphic novel for what it was. There were some pretty nostalgic moments for me because some of her drawings and way of describing things put me right back in Ireland in my heart and described my experience of having to leave it. I did appreciate her perspective that the trip to find her roots became more about finding out what sort of roots she wanted to put down in the world - that was an enlightening paradigm shift for me, especially Light. Thoughtful. Nostalgic. I certainly enjoyed this graphic novel for what it was. There were some pretty nostalgic moments for me because some of her drawings and way of describing things put me right back in Ireland in my heart and described my experience of having to leave it. I did appreciate her perspective that the trip to find her roots became more about finding out what sort of roots she wanted to put down in the world - that was an enlightening paradigm shift for me, especially because I know so little about my own family background. I liked reading about her journey to find her family's past and how she ended up finding joy and love in the process. It's a light, enjoyable read, with a taste of Ireland for those who haven't been and a trip back for those who have.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Didn't really get a sense of anything, felt like a stone skipping across the water. Not bad graphics, there was an elegant simplicity that is perhaps not as easy as it looks. Maybe I expect things to be more deep after reading Bechdel. I was happy for her to find love, but I didn't get a sense of her family, Ireland, even the process of a kick starter, or anything they seemed to talk about. There's just him looking at her. I mean I'm glad she found love, I hope she is happy. Life isn't always Didn't really get a sense of anything, felt like a stone skipping across the water. Not bad graphics, there was an elegant simplicity that is perhaps not as easy as it looks. Maybe I expect things to be more deep after reading Bechdel. I was happy for her to find love, but I didn't get a sense of her family, Ireland, even the process of a kick starter, or anything they seemed to talk about. There's just him looking at her. I mean I'm glad she found love, I hope she is happy. Life isn't always very interesting. I wish I could be more positive. O'Connor has promise and I hope she keeps doing books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Aw, I like that it eventually (/kinda quickly?) became more about ~*love*~. Especially bc the info about her family was p dry? I think that’s more a function of the existing info on most ordinary people’s history being p limited to names, dates, births and deaths. She did a good job putting cute comics to that stuff, but it definitely wasn’t quite enough to sustain a whole book (which isn’t her fault! Clearly it was the kind of thing where she could only really know once she got there). But the Aw, I like that it eventually (/kinda quickly?) became more about ~*love*~. Especially bc the info about her family was p dry? I think that’s more a function of the existing info on most ordinary people’s history being p limited to names, dates, births and deaths. She did a good job putting cute comics to that stuff, but it definitely wasn’t quite enough to sustain a whole book (which isn’t her fault! Clearly it was the kind of thing where she could only really know once she got there). But the travelogue with bonus love helped fill it out and make it more memorable. Overall enjoyable, although a little slight.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Martinez

    The story here is a bit misleading, it's a breakup and new relationship story, and it's a lot of telling not showing; even though it's a small book a lot of it is taken up with the process of making the book (the kickstarter, comic shows, etc.); the actual search for ROOTS is basically failed, and the protagonist notes that "when people travel, they often note the differences, but I noticed the similarities;" this is a fine observation but seems limited by the fact that she is in an English The story here is a bit misleading, it's a breakup and new relationship story, and it's a lot of telling not showing; even though it's a small book a lot of it is taken up with the process of making the book (the kickstarter, comic shows, etc.); the actual search for ROOTS is basically failed, and the protagonist notes that "when people travel, they often note the differences, but I noticed the similarities;" this is a fine observation but seems limited by the fact that she is in an English speaking country and seems not to venture too far beyond pubs and friends of friends.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    A quick read travelogue/memoir of Tara's divorce and subsequent travels to find her family's roots in Ireland. Her travelogue quickly morphs into a memoir of her new relationship and the process of healing from a bad past relationship; the details about her family's past are pretty thin and info about Ireland is also spare. Roots isn't exactly what it sets out to be, but her look into healing is relatable and her new love is cute and sweet. O'Connor's black and white art is also really sweet and A quick read travelogue/memoir of Tara's divorce and subsequent travels to find her family's roots in Ireland. Her travelogue quickly morphs into a memoir of her new relationship and the process of healing from a bad past relationship; the details about her family's past are pretty thin and info about Ireland is also spare. Roots isn't exactly what it sets out to be, but her look into healing is relatable and her new love is cute and sweet. O'Connor's black and white art is also really sweet and cartoonish fitting well with the story of new romance.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alli

    3.5 stars The art style is charming, and it was a story with interesting, relatable, and heartfelt beginnings, but it was a little lacking for me in content. It's interesting that she mentions in the book that she was worried her readers would feel she hadn't lived up to her intent behind her kickstarter - I definitely felt that way. Everything felt a little vague and glossed over - I was looking for more detail that I just never got. Ultimately disappointing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This wasn't what I was expecting, but in a good way. I quite liked the introspective stuff, the break-up stuff at the beginning seemed to be pretty bang-on, and it tugged at my heart a little. I thought there would be a lot more historical stuff, and truthfully I'm happy there wasn't. It was a cute little romance, and I enjoyed it. Though I wanted a little more from the end, even just a "where are they now?" type thing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Charming book. I'm not a fan of graphic novels, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I especially liked the illustration of what Tara saw while looking out the window in Ireland. I don't know what that struck me, but I could see myself sitting there, looking out that same window. I kind of knew where this was going, but I was still glad for the happy ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Catu Berretta

    Liked the art, liked the story but it felt too action driven where the action was: we went to get food, then we went to this park, then we went here and we ate this. The point of the story is about where she goes as she searches for her family's history but the shining moments where when she was reflecting, even if it was reflecting about how she didn't really learn anything.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Thank you to Goodreads, IDW Publishing & to the author Tara O'Connor for this wonderful giveaway! What a beautiful book. I enjoyed every page! Heartbreaking & heartwarming with great art, also done by O'Connor. Tara confirms my need to visit Ireland one day!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    A lovely and refreshing memoir of a personal and relatable story. The more emotional bits are by far the best written parts, but still a touching story with some great art to go with it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    It’s a cute little book, not quite what I expected and perhaps not quite what it set out to be, but that’s okay. Quick to read and likeable.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eva Nieves

    The art is beautiful but the scenes were jumping from one to another and details were left out to let you assume it just happened.

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