Mid-Life

Joe Ollmann, Author
Joe Ollmann. Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95 paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-77046-028-7
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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If you've never heard of Ollmann (This Will All End in Tears, Chewing on Tinfoil), you certainly will as a result of this book, a midlife odyssey of nine-panel graphic storytelling that is part autobiography, part fiction, but above all, a work of uncompromising honesty. Ollmann's 40-year-old protagonist, Joe, must deal with all of the difficulties and domestic responsibilities of middle-age, including his second wife, Chan, and infant son, Sam, as well as grown-up daughters from his first marriage. However, Joe's mundane world of diaper changes and interrupted sleep is threatened when a rock singer–turned–children's performer, Sherry Smalls, turns up on one of his son's DVDs. He senses a connection with Smalls and can't seem to get her out of his head. When circumstances lead to an opportunity to meet her, Joe is forced to confront his midlife crisis head on. The story is brilliantly conceived and executed, moving back and forth between Joe's and Sherry's stories. The story uncannily captures the way men think, not only about their jobs or domestic partnerships but about themselves—and not only about what "midlife" takes from them but what it gives back to them as well. Readers of any age who pick up this gem will find it impossible to put down. (Mar.)
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