Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

Liz Prince. Zest (HMH, dist.), $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-936976-55-3
Comics creator Prince (Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?) makes her YA debut with a candid graphic memoir about growing up resisting all forms of girliness. Early on, Liz's family supports her wardrobe choices (blazers and baseball caps) and her interest in Little League; her schoolmates are merely puzzled. When she arrives at middle school, though, the pressure starts to build. Girlfriends whose sexuality is beginning to develop leave her behind or use her as a prop, and boys bully her relentlessly: "Loser dykes spotted in the wild!" Liz resists becoming a sexual being, and Prince's artwork resists sexuality, too; the cast is a series of endearing, childlike figures (even when they're smoking). A running visual expresses Liz's attempts to negotiate predetermined gender roles by marking out a figure that resists the standard bathroom-door symbols for "male" and "female." Prince's most important revelation—that in dressing like a boy, "I subscribed to the idea that there was only one form of femininity and that it was inferior to being a man"—gives readers space to question their own acquiescence to gender stereotypes. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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