cover image Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret

Emily Carrington. Drawn & Quarterly, $29.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-77046-546-6

In a weighty debut graphic memoir rife with visual metaphors, Carrington documents an adolescence marked by sexual abuse and an adulthood consumed by thwarted attempts to heal. Following her parents’ separation, Carrington lived in deep rural poverty with her rage-prone father on Prince Edward Island. Her father’s friend and neighbor, Richard, offered kindness and electricity: “He had a chance to be a hero.” Also, he groomed and raped her. Line drawings, with deceptively simple character designs, depict a life fraught with dangerous omens, carried in metaphorical and real images: flies that lurk in the cracks of a cabin, a wolf catching a fawn in its teeth, a plane that circles but never lands. Carrington doesn’t fully process the events until 27 years later when she spots Richard on a ferry. She pursues legal action only to run into against Canada’s statute of limitations and is plagued by debt, which fueled by bills from an incompetent lawyer. Studying the hero’s journey in a comics class, she wonders when it will be time for her triumphant return. In depicting her abuse and the aftermath with rawness, realism, and a dreamlike final act—in which “Lady Justice” is a temp who’s late to pick up her child from day care—Carrington has done a service to all who navigate trauma without tidy endings. [em](Feb.) [/em]