It’s Not What You Thought It Would Be

Lizzy Stewart. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-68396-435-3
Childhood transitions into adulthood through poignant and pointed vignettes in this graphic novel from Stewart (Walking Distance). Two unnamed women, friends since childhood, discover that old bonds are difficult to permanently sever. Their stories, set in the U.K. between country and cityscapes, often consist almost entirely of conversations between them, much of it seemingly casual, until the subtext breaks through; for example, a pointed “Oh. But. That’s not how I feel, at all” shatters both the character’s and the reader’s assumptions. Temporary grade school alliances prepare the way for intense, 1990s angst-tinged teenage friendship and the realization that growing up sometimes means drifting apart, but not forever. Slices of life outside of the core narrative provide texture, but also highlight that there’s scant space given to one of the two central friends. (While it emphasizes an imbalance in the relationship, readers are also left wishing they learned more about her.) The soft lines and muted colors or monochrome of Stewart’s art subtly heightens the emotionality. There’s a quiet but powerful immediacy to this that will appeal to lit fic fans who may not always pick up comics. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2021
Release date: 07/27/2021
Genre: Comics
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