Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mini-Review: Tomboy by Liz Prince

It's another case of the I-really-wanted-to-love-this-but-it-was-just-okay book doldrums.

Am I being overdramatic?  Is the sun hot?  This graphic memoir by Liz Prince was well-done, and did a bang-up job of examining gender norms, but still left me wanting more.  More of what?  I'm not exactly sure.
Prince assures us that she has been a tomboy forever.  But her baseball cap and sneaker uniform all too often led people to think she was a boy.  Which she was not.  But she didn't want to be a girl, because boobs are gross (???  They are irritating when too big, but not ... gross).  Hence, there's a lot of confusion as to a) who is she? and b) why don't people understand her?

The first part of Tomboy, which deals with Prince's elementary and middle school struggles, would be amazing for gender-questioning kids and tweens (without the f-bombs casually tossed in there--although they were funny).  Once Liz got older, though, I feel like the pace of the book was a bit rushed and ta-da!  Now she's an adult!  

I'm poking around in my brain, trying to figure out why I didn't love this.  I mean, it has all the hallmarks of "stuff I love," like: quirky line art, strong female characters, diversity, camp!  Liz's attitude toward both boys and girls puzzled me: she wanted to hang out with boys and also have boyfriends, but friends progressing to boyfriends was a no-go.  The one guy who did want "something more" was described like some sort of creeper.  It's really normal to fall for someone you hang out with.  But Liz absolutely hated girls unless they were also tomboys or some sort of social outcast.  To her, all girls were cheerleaders.  They were all blonde and be-boobed and boy-crazy and into glitter and stuff.  Granted, a lot of this is coming from the perspective of sixth-grade Liz, but it was still ... awkward.

This definitely has an audience, but I'm not part of it.  I'll happily give this to any tween or teen looking for a school/identity-based graphic novel, though.

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