cover image Single Mothering

Single Mothering

Anna Härmälä. Nobrow, $20.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-913123-22-2

Härmälä’s wit glows as warmly as her saturated pastel colors in her semi-autobiographical debut about tackling parenthood alone. Her partner dumps her while she’s pregnant, leaving her to shoulder the responsibilities of birthing and then raising their daughter, Alma. After she fantasizes about burning the house down, she imagines being visited by angels who decree, “From now on, you shall always suffer judgment more than other mothers.” Through short, interconnected vignettes, Härmälä deals with insensitive couples, overly sensitive friends, friendships with other single moms (Sara, an aspirational single mother figure, “smells expensive” and is “emotionally scarred but in a gentle, approachable way”), dating as a single parent, applying for a mortgage alone, and accepting the hard truth that, no matter how exhausting and exasperating her situation is, she has to keep going for the sake of her daughter. Through it all, Härmälä is bitingly funny and visually innovative; she imagines losing her partner in a game show, depicts herself in woodcut-style art as a witch banished from the Village of Couples, and transforms into a half-woman, half-stroller cyborg. Her smooth, rounded art is delightfully expressive and self-deprecating. Parents, single and otherwise, will find plenty to laugh about, in solidarity. (Apr.)