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Are You My Mother?: A Comic Dramaby Alison Bechdel
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014 list * Texas Library Association (TLA) Maverick Graphic Novels List 2015 * YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2015 nomination * Amelia Bloomer Project 2015 nomination * YALSA Quick Picks 2015 nomination * Cybils Awards 2014 nomination * Teen Choice Book of the Year Awards nomination * Broken Frontier Awards nomination
*Starred Review* “Prince explores what it means to be a tomboy in a magnificently evocative graphic memoir. ...Simple, line-based art provides a perfect complement to her keen narration, giving this an indie, intimate feel and leaving readers feeling like they really know her. Liz’s story, captured with wry humor and a deft, visceral eye, is a must-read for fans who fell for Raina Telgemeier’s work in middle school. Spectacular; a book to make anyone think seriously about society’s preordained gender roles.” - Kirkus Reviews
*Young Adult Lit-Pick* "The heroine of this charming, gently subversive graphic memoir loves Little League and hates dresses, so what does she grow up to be? Gloriously herself." - People Magazine
“Prince’s tongue-in-cheek black-and-white line drawings, in a charming style reminiscent of Jeffrey Brown’s autobiographical comics, pack a punch in this empowering memoir that should have ample appeal for any kid who feels like an outsider.” - Booklist
"A great read for those who were tomboys and those who simply love great graphic novel memoirs." - The Hub, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
"Any girl who grew up with big love for sports, skate shoes, and/or giant, shape-obscuring T-shirts will know how contentious it is when you don’t fit the flawlessly feminine formula of the “average teen girl.” This is why Liz Prince’s latest graphic novel, Tomboy, is a fantastic primer on gender politics. Through a series of hilarious and heartbreaking episodes from her youth, Prince examines just why being comfortable in her own skin—and sweatpants—made everyone around her so freaking uncomfortable. It makes being a tomboy a political statement." - Rookie
"Liz Prince has been a cult and beloved figure in the world of comics for awhile, and in her autobiographical book Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir, she discusses the subject of growing up, in her inimitable, honest and simple style ... makes for a fascinating look at what “identity” means in the process of growing up." - Flavorwire
"At its core, Tomboy is a book about the often painful consequences of finding and expressing one’s individuality despite the pressure to conform. What makes this memoir stand out is Liz’s brave and humorous outlook—her refusal to capitulate in even the most distressing of situations." - The Book Trib
"Prince’s art takes this book from good to knock-out. Where a memoir about gender expression and identity is always welcome, the way Prince uses illustrations to really showcase those feelings and experiences visually takes this to an entirely new and memorable level. Buy this one. Read it, then reread it, then pass it along to teens and adults who are interested in discussing or who have experienced the challenges of our society’s deep-seeded beliefs in gender." - Book Riot
"One of the reasons Tomboy works so well is that it is done in comic form. It is one thing to read a story and to follow dialogue, but it is another thing to actually get to see the small triumphs and daily challenges and indignities depicted visually, and that is something that Prince drawings skillfully capture." - About.com
"The triumph of her story, and of Liz herself, is that she was always strong enough to be who she was even when it might have been easier to just play a part. It’s an enjoyable and even comforting read as you find yourself rooting for Liz to find the acceptance you know a smart, funny, confident person like her will eventually find. ….A lot of younger readers could benefit from reading the book’s lessons about self acceptance and what it means to be a girl." - Mental Floss
"In her new graphic memoir (think comic book meets autobiography), Tomboy, Prince details her early years in words and pictures--and the result is both bleakly funny and achingly relatable. ...Prince’s simple pen-and-ink drawings perfectly exemplify her plucky nature and slyly complement her feminist message: When we propagate the notion that there’s only one version of “womanhood,” we limit the creative potential of girls everywhere." - PureWow
"Relatable, hilarious, and insightful, Tomboy is a must-read for anyone who feels like a square peg in a round hole." - Bookish
"An intriguing portrait of growing up as a gender-nonconforming girl in a world fixated on the gender binary. ...Prince’s story is a testament to the joys of finding one’s place in a world so adamant about finding that place for you. And it’s a story that, filled with self-deprecating humor and a flowing narrative, is easy to finish in one sitting. But perhaps Tomboy’s success lies most in its ability to get you to contemplate your own experiences growing up—swimming with your shirt on, searching for that special valentine, navigating social anxiety—and the ways in which we have all transgressed, and perpetuated, our society’s rigid definitions of what it means to be a girl or a boy." - Willamette Week
"Part hilarious, part heartbreaking and part hopeful, this graphic memoir covers the challenges of growing up and being different. ...Just like Liz, this novel is sure to stand out against the crowd. Tomboy is a story readers aren't likely to forget." - Teenreads.com
"Everyone is in agreement that Liz totally killed it with this book." - Atomic Books
"Liz Prince tells gender norms to eat dirt. A delightful, thoughtful, and compulsively readable memoir. And an important one." - Ariel Schrag, author of Adam and Potential
"Liz Prince may have been an uncertain, confused kid, but she’s a confident and sincerely expressive cartoonist. Tomboy is a funny and relatable look at what every child has to deal with at some point—figuring out who you really are inside, when everyone else only sees what they think you should be on the outside." - Jeffrey Brown, author of Clumsy, Jedi Academy and Darth Vader and Son
"It's hard to imagine anyone failing to be charmed by this entertaining, clever, and genuinely funny memoir of growing up with gender identity confusion. Even this pretty unconfused regular old dude found plenty to identify with in Liz Prince’s story of adolescent bafflement, exploration, and discovery—all delivered, like all the best such stories, with a light touch, wry wit, understated irony, and not one iota of preachiness. Meaning: I’m a fan. Go Liz!" - Frank Portman, author of King Dork
"Tomboy is a thoughtful, honest look into the evolution and acceptance of personal gender identity, as told by a smart-mouhed punk named Liz Prince. I wish it had existed when I was in high school." - Nicole Georges, author of Calling Dr. Laura
"Liz Prince portrays the awkwardness and humiliation of childhood with wonderful (not to mention painful) accuracy. Any kid that picks up this book is going to be privy to secrets most of us don’t learn until it’s too late, and any adult who reads it will be reminded of an essential truth: that’s it’s okay to be exactly who we want to be, no matter how weird everyone else thinks we are. Tomboy isn’t a self help book, but it should be." - Julia Wertz, author of Drinking at the Movies and The Infinite Wait
"It's not very often you read a goofy coming-of-age comic written with an astutely critical lens... and then there's Liz Prince's Tomboy. By tackling everything from Green Day to girl-hate, Prince does a kick-ass job at dissecting gender politics (and playground politics) through riotous anecdotes from her childhood, making this feminist inquiry, well, fun." - Suzy X., illustrator at Rookie Mag
"Navigating life as a young tomboy would have been a lot easier if I'd had Liz's brave, hilarious, and honest story to guide me. Reading this book will make weird kids like us feel a little less alone." - Melissa Mendes, author of Freddy Stories
Synopses & Reviews
From the best-selling author of Fun Home, Time magazines No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be.
Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood...and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel's own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother — to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
"There was a danger inherent in the bestselling microscopically examined autobiography of Bechdel's Fun Home, namely that further work from this highly impressive artist could disappear so far down the rabbit hole of her own mind that readers might never find their way back out. Her first book since that masterful 2006 chronicle of her closeted father's suicide narrowly avoids that fate, but is all the stronger for risking it. This Jungian 'comic drama' finds Bechdel investigating the quiet combat of another relationship: that of her distant, critical mother and her own tangled, self-defeating psyche. Bechdel's art has the same tightly observed aura of her earlier work, but with a deepening and loosening of style. The story, which sketches more of the author's professional and personal life outside of her family, is spiderwebbed with anxiety and self-consciousness ('I was plagued... with a tendency to edit my thoughts before they even took shape'). There's a doubling-back quality, mixed with therapeutic interludes that avoid self-indulgence and are studded with references to creative mentors like Virginia Woolf (another obsessive who yet took daring creative leaps), analyst Donald Winnicott, and Alice Miller. Though perhaps not quite as perfectly composed as Fun Home, this is a fiercely honest work about the field of combat that is family." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Are You My Mother is a work of the most humane kind of genius, bravely going right to the heart of things: why we are who we are. It's also incredibly funny. And visually stunning. And page-turningly addictive. And heartbreaking." Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated
"Many of us are living out the unlived lives of our mothers. Alison Bechdel has written a graphic novel about this; sort of like a comic book by Virginia Woolf. You won't believe it until you read it — and you must!" Gloria Steinem
"This book is not so much the sequel to Alison Bechdel's captivating memoir Fun Home, as the maternal yin to its paternal yang. Bravely worrying out the snarled web of missed connections that bedevil her relationship with her remarkable mother from the very start, Bechdel deploys everyone from Virginia Woolf to D.W. Winnicott (the legendary psychoanalytic theorist who comes to serve as her quests benign fairy godfather) to untie the snares of a fraught past. She arrives, at long last, at something almost as shimmering as it is simple: a grace-flecked accommodation and an affirming love." Lawrence Weschler, author of Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences and Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative
"[Bechdel's] lines and angles are sharper than in Fun Home, and yet her self-image and her views of family members, lovers, and analysts are thorough, clear, and kind. Mothers, adult daughters, literati, memoir fans, and psychology readers are among the many who will find this outing a rousing experience....This may be the most anticipated graphic novel of the year." Booklist, starred review
"Are You My Mother? offers an improbably profound master class in how to live an examined life....More moving and illuminating than Fun Home." Elle
"The best writers, whether they are creating fiction or nonfiction, are trying to find out what makes people human for better and for worse. A taut, complex book within several books, Bechdel's investigation of her relationship with her mother and the work of pioneering psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott offers the most articulate answer you're likely to ingest. You'll feel like Alice climbing your way out the jagged rabbit hole to limbo." Library Journal
Growing up, Liz Prince wasn't a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing Pretty Pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn't exactly one of the guys either, as she quickly learned when her Little League baseball coach exiled her to the outfield instead of letting her take the pitcher's mound. Liz was somewhere in the middle, and Tomboy is the story of her struggle to find the place where she belonged. Tomboy is a graphic novel about refusing gender boundaries, yet unwittingly embracing gender stereotypes at the same time, and realizing later in life that you can be just as much of a girl in jeans and a T-shirt as you can in a pink tutu. A memoir told anecdotally, Tomboy follows author and zine artist Liz Prince through her early childhood into adulthood and explores her ever-evolving struggles and wishes regarding what it means to "be a girl." From staunchly refuting anything she perceived as being "girly" to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, regardless of your gender, Tomboy is as much humorous and honest as it is at points uncomfortable and heartbreaking.
From the author of Fun Home — the lives, loves, and politics of cult fav characters Mo, Lois, Sydney, Sparrow, Ginger, Stuart, Clarice, and others
For twenty-five years Bechdels path-breaking Dykes to Watch Out For strip has been collected in award-winning volumes (with a quarter of a million copies in print), syndicated in fifty alternative newspapers, and translated into many languages. Now, at last, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For gathers a rich, funny, deep and impossible to put down” (Publishers Weekly) selection from all eleven Dykes volumes. Here too are sixty of the newest strips, never before published in book form.
Settle in to this wittily illustrated soap opera (Bechdel calls it half op-ed column and half endless serialized Victorian novel”) of the lives, loves, and politics of a cast of characters, most of them lesbian, living in a midsize American city that may or may not be Minneapolis.
Her brilliantly imagined countercultural band of friends — academics, social workers, bookstore clerks — fall in and out of love, negotiate friendships, raise children, switch careers, and cope with aging parents.
Bechdel fuses high and low culture — from foreign policy to domestic routine, hot sex to postmodern theory — in a serial graphic narrative suitable for humanists of all persuasions.”
About the Author
Alison Bechdel is the author of the bestselling mioir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, People, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, and San Francisco Chronicle, among others. For twenty-five years, she wrote and drew the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, a visual chronicle of modern life — queer and otherwise — considered "one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period." (Ms.) Bechdel is guest editor of Best American Comics, 2011, and has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney's, Entertainment Weekly, Granta, and The New York Times Book Review.
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