cover image Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story: The Graphic Novel

Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story: The Graphic Novel

Edmund White et al. Top Shelf, $29.99 (264p) ISBN 978-1-60309-508-2

In this successful graphic adaptation, Brian Alessandro (Performer Non Grata) and Michael Carroll (Stella Maris) preserve the lyricism of White’s semi-autobiographical 1982 novel, aided by Igor Karash’s lush, painterly visuals. White’s coming-of-age narrative centers on Edmund’s adolescence in 1950s Ohio, with flash-forwards to his adulthood from the ’60s through the ’80s, foraying to N.Y.C. and Paris. A child of divorce, Edmond navigates fraught relationships with his arrogant, moneyed father, needy mother, and acerbic sister, while slowly coming to grips with his sexuality. He details his early sexual experimentations with other males, one boy in particular: “I’d already imagined Kevin as a sort of husband.” At boarding school, teenage Edmund develops a crush on his gym teacher Mr. Pouchet, and in Chicago he falls under the influence of a married queer couple, Marilyn and Fred, who own a bookstore. Through their acquaintance, he decides queerness “wasn’t so much about sexuality as it was about the reordering or redefinition of human relationships.” Alessandro and Carrol have abridged White’s complex, time-shifting tapestry smoothly, while Karash’s muted color scheme evokes a rich, bittersweet nostalgia. This artful, heartfelt adaptation illuminates a modern classic for a new generation of readers. (Jan.)