Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Favourite - Graphic Memoirs

I didn't realize that this was a legit and historical genre, until I finished reading a second book that seemed to fit the description. And so it goes that once something hits your radar, you start seeing it pop up in your life more and more. Articles you were reading for some other reason, mention a graphic memoir, or a couple show up on a book list of "recommended titles" from a site you frequent.

And then you Google the damn thing because the snippets and sneaks you have been catching fill your brain and your imagination and you want more!

Here is what my Google search turned up:
Brian & Mary Talbot's Top 10 Graphic Memoirs
13 Graphic Novels every memoir lover should read
TIME Magazine's Top 10

The strange thing is, I hate novel-based memoirs. I think I have muddled through less than 5 in my life. I think they are boring, and full of themselves. But the graphic memoir is a different thing entirely!

If you like memoirs, try reading a graphic memoir.
If you hate memoirs, try reading a graphic memoir.
If you enjoy comics and graphic novels, but not regular novels, try reading a graphic memoir.

The second "graphic memoir" that I read, that clued me into the genre is the one pictured below.

This book really resonated with me. It accounts the author's young life, during which she wanted to be a boy. She dressed "like a boy", played with typical boy toys and boy games, hung out with boys, and was bullied for it. It still stings for me when I remember the lady in the grocery store who asked my younger sister how old her brother was...we didn't have brothers at the time. This wasn't the first or last time I was mistaken for a boy. And as you grow up, this inevitably comes with questions about your sexuality. That is, if you look like a girl trying to look like a boy, people tend to assume you must be a lesbian. She writes about the friends she made over the years and how they helped - and hurt - her sense of self. She discusses the role models she found who helped her figure out why she wanted to be a boy, and eventually helped her discover her passions and how to be cool with who she is.

I think this book would be so amazing for a young adult audience, which is one of the things I love about graphic memoirs. The subject matter can tackle any facet of life - growing up, love, identity, relationships - and be very deep or very funny, and the medium makes it so accessible for any age and any reading level! I loved Liz's doodles of herself and her friends, and I found that they helped me visualize her story and find relatable components in my own life so much easier.

Thanks to my Google search, and a quick epl.ca visit, I am looking forward to reading the following graphic memoirs!
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Accounts her life growing up in Iran in the midst of the Islamic Revolution.

Dragonslippers by Rosalind B. Penfold accounts her marriage to an abusive husband.

In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel recounts her struggle with her father's suicide, and the mention of this book in an article I was reading about envy and creative work got me started down the rabbit hole.

Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis is about the tiny moments in life that combine to make you whole.



  1. Thank you for sharing a little peak into you, one I had not had the privilege of knowing.

  2. Yes! Graphic memoirs! Thanks for the recommendations, looking forward to reading some of these. Also, may I recommend: 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' by Roz Chast and 'Tangles' by Sarah Leavitt. Both are about the struggles of ageing parents, which is something that resonates with me.


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