Blame This on the Boogie

Rina Ayuyang. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-77046-318-9
Ayuyang (Whirlwind Wonderland) graduates from the micro-press comics scene with this delightfully quirky, cheekily funny memoir built around her love of musicals, rendered in wonderfully kinetic, colored-pencil drawings, perfectly expressing her sentiment that, when she hears music, “It’s like my body can’t contain this energy built up inside me.” Ayuyang splits her narrative into two main sections: the first details her childhood growing up Filipina-American in Pittsburgh, Penn. Though blessed with a supportive, tight-knit family, she frequently experiences cultural dislocation and outright rejection amongst her largely Caucasian schoolmates, which only gets worse as she gets older: “I dreaded high school so much that I can’t even devote ONE panel about it!” The glitz of musicals provides her escape. The second section is devoted to Ayuyang’s present-day life with her husband and young son in Oakland, Calif. While trying to balance her artistic career with her responsibilities as a wife and mother, she continues to get sidetracked by pop culture, including a hilarious obsession with Dancing with the Stars. Throughout, Ayuyang’s visuals are wonderfully musical, lilting across the pages with energy and movement. The epilogue, “The Ballet that Always Comes at the End of the Musical,” provides exactly that, with all Ayuyang’s loved ones joining her for a joyous fantasy made manifest. Readers will be swept off their feet by this irresistible bildungsroman. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
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