*I was provided with a free arc of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of this book tour.
Right from the beginning, I love the bright, pastel style of this book. The colors are cheerful, and the art style simple enough not to be overwhelming or require a background in reading graphic novels (some graphic novels, in my experience, are not friendly to those un-used to reading the story in pictures), but detailed enough that emotions and unspoken actions come through clearly. There is a lot of life in the characters, and the story of Liz’s life comes through clearly.
The visual representation of how Liz feels othered and out of place growing up, both as a black girl and as a dsylexic student comes through clearly, even when not expressly stated in words. And I really related to her struggle of being the only left-handed member of the family, and struggle with getting her words out clearly at times.
The way Liz explores her childhood through, not only personal milestones, but major world events (9/11, the 2008 recession, etc.) feels very relevant in today’s world, and is a good reminder that when looking at history, we aren’t only looking at broad world changes, but the lives of individuals as well.
Maybe its because of my background in analyzing Graphic Medicine texts, but portions of Liz’s early high school pages work really well for explaining feelings of anxiety or even depression (though I am unsure Liz would term her feelings as such).
Overall, I really loved this book, and read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop reading.
Rating: 5 Stars
*I would add more, but don’t want to add too many pictures.
Genre: YA Graphic Memoir
Publishing date: October 4th, 2022
A heartfelt and funny graphic novel memoir from one of the first Black female cartoonists to be published in the New Yorker, when she was just 22 years old.
When Liz Montague was a senior in college, she wrote to the New Yorker, asking them why they didn’t publish more inclusive comics. The New Yorker wrote back asking if she could recommend any. She responded: yes, me.
Those initial cartoons in the New Yorker led to this memoir of Liz’s youth, from the age of five through college–how she navigated life in her predominantly white New Jersey town, overcame severe dyslexia through art, and found the confidence to pursue her passion. Funny and poignant, Liz captures the age-old adolescent questions of “who am I?” and “what do I want to be?” with pitch-perfect clarity and insight.
This brilliant, laugh-out-loud graphic memoir offers a fresh perspective on life and social issues and proves that you don’t need to be a dead white man to find success in art.
Liz Montague is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator whose work focuses on the intersection of self and social awareness. She began contributing to the New Yorker in 2019 as a cartoonist and has illustrated for the U.S. Open, Food Network, Google, and the Joe Biden presidential campaign. She’s been profiled by the Washington Post, ABC News, and Today, among other media outlets. Liz is the creator of the popular Liz at Large cartoon series, which previously ran in Washington City Paper, and is passionate about documenting social change and protest movements. This is her first book for children.