coming of age

There seem to be so many graphic memoirs coming out lately, it will have to be a section all on its own. It’s an interesting new medium to get a story across and definitely eye catching but I’m beginning to have mixed feelings about them.

One of the first graphic memoirs I ever read was Persepolis. I was blown away. And not because it was something new but because I was reading an amazing story AND it was presented in a different way. Another one that I’ve read recently that I loved was French Milk. Very different in terms of content but a familiar story about a girl trying to figure out who she is. It’s a common theme but French Milk had mixed media (photographs and drawings) which made it stand out. And it was just full of her personality, even if it was still a very young voice.

This past week, I’ve read two more graphic memoirs and maybe the novelty is starting to wear off because I didn’t really enjoy them. Stitches was different, much darker, almost horrific in its depictions, and rightfully so considering what David Small went through. I’m usually a fan of some horror, I like dark and twisty things but the story was lacking. He skips over a huge chunk of time that should have explained how he went from a disturbing childhood, losing his voice (literally), to finding his voice (figuratively) and becoming successful. I felt like there was a lot to tell there so the ending felt hollow.

The Imposter’s Daughter isn’t in black and white like the others but in full color. And the synopsis of the story sounded so interesting I snatched it up at the library before anyone else could. I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I love her illustrations and she lays out all her secrets for everyone to see. She doesn’t hold back anything which I applaud. That is something I don’t think I will ever have courage to do. But I wasn’t convinced. There is a 2 page spread in the middle of the book where she cleverly lists many of the celebrities she interviewed during that time by doing a mock Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band cover. But why? I didn’t see how that was relevant to the story. I got that she had a knack for getting these ladies to open up to her but the fact was she was using the sob story that she had a terrible father. I’m glad that she found help and is recovered but the story felt so contrived. Girls with “daddy issues” are a dime a dozen. If she was a celebrity journalist, would she still have gotten this book deal?

I think I’ll avoid graphic memoirs for a while.

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