This brilliantly painted memoir by Stein (Present) explores her experience of abortion with clarity and tenderness. Beginning in the clinic prior to the procedure, Stein jumps back and forth in time to chronicle the liaison that resulted in the pregnancy, holidays with her mother who longs for grandchildren, and moments from her bartending gig (such as a wry moment where she dreams up a “Yelp for babies” to critique the stroller-moms she ushers out the door). Stein’s graceful watercolors and whimsical lettering are used to tremendous effect: the cerulean tears she spills after the procedure and the jarringly jaunty conversation that overrides her inner monologue are all the more powerful for their literal brightness. Stein refuses to sand down the difficult edges and lets the choices she makes—her abortion, her habit of cemetery sightseeing—stand for themselves. She just keeps on tending bar and to the moods of her customers in the midst of private trauma, doesn’t own a sofa, and finds solace in imagining the stages of the pregnancy she decided not to carry forward. In baring the details of her life without apology, Stein’s multifaceted portrait of a life in progress gives due nuance to a complicated topic. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020 Release date: 05/05/2020 Genre: Comics
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