Tag Archives: biography

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel

Are you my mother alison bechdelRating: ★★★☆☆

As an autobiographical sequel to Fun Home, Bechdel’s approach to analysing her relationship with her mother couldn’t be more different to how she examined the one with her father. If you have a problem with dry psychoanalysis, then you may struggle with Are You My Mother?

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The Non-fiction ‘Graphic Novel’ – is there a better term?

I’ve been reading quite a few graphic novels of late, for lack of a better phrase, not all of which were the fiction implied by the term ‘graphic novel’. No, Hyperbole and a Half, Fun Home: a family tragicomic, and Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? are memoirs.

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Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz ChastRating:  

As Chast’s parents aged, she recognised the need to care for them, and she did, until they died. Graphic novel memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? details her uncensored journey with humour and poignancy, examining her changing relationships with them along the way.

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Fun Home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home a tragicomic Alison BechdelRating: 

An erudite, self-aware feminist memoir, in graphic novel form, examining a lesbian’s childhood relationship with her parents – especially her closeted gay father. Fun Home is chock full of psychoanalysis, literary criticism and commentary on gender, sexuality and suicide. You may recognise the author’s name from her Bechdel Test, which ‘asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man’ to indicate gender bias (Wikipedia).

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Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half Allie Brosh

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Other than the seriously offensive smell of Hyperbole and Half‘s pages (I think it’s all that colourful ink) and that odd yellow triangle on the top of Brosh’s cartoon head (what is that, anyway? A hat, a blonde ponytail?), this is a self-aware blog-to-book memoir describing some of the absurdities and poignancy of everyday life.

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I Had a Black Dog: His Name Was Depression by Matthew Johnstone

I Had a Black Dog Matthew Johnstone depression

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Winston Churchill’s black dog euphemism for depression is given form by author and illustrator Matthew Johnstone. He skillfully reveals his personal navigation through the seven hells of depression to the light at the end of the very long tunnel. As Churchill once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” Johnstone sought treatment, told his family and friends and learned how to control the dreaded beast so he could finally enjoy life again.

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist Roxane GayRating: 

Bad Feminist is an anthology of witty and confessional essays mixing personal experience; opinions on race, politics, media, gender and sexuality; and reviews of books, TV and film – sometimes all in the same essay. Roxane Gay lays out what it is to be a feminist. That there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ one. Being human precludes us from perfection. We’re complex creatures. We can enjoy something even if we don’t agree with the ideas behind them. That’s the very definition of cognitive dissonance.

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The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary Prince

The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary PrinceRating:

Oh the horrors of slavery!—How the thought of it pains my heart! But the truth ought to be told of it; and what my eyes have seen I think it is my duty to relate; for few people in England know what slavery is. I have been a slave—I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows; and I would have all the good people in England to know it too, that they may break our chains, and set us free.

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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward JusticeRating:

Rosa Parks was not the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. I know, I didn’t know this either. It’s not our fault. Claudette Colvin had done the same nine months before. She was not considered by African American civil rights leaders to be a suitable symbol for the campaign against segregationist legislation. She was too young (she was fifteen), perceived to be too fiesty and too emotional, and too working class to be an appropriate figurehead to inspire revolution among her fellow African American residents of Montgomery, Alabama. She suffered more at the hands of the police than Ms. Parks (Colvin was jailed, among other things), more scorn from her neighbours and supposed friends than Ms. Parks, and yet she’s been conveniently forgotten by the press, the historians and the public.

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