cover image I Thought You Loved Me

I Thought You Loved Me

MariNaomi. Fieldmouse, $30 trade paper (324) ISBN 978-1-956636-16-1

This innovative graphic memoir from MariNaomi (Turning Japanese) sifts through a meditative ghost story of sorts, taking the form of a scrapbook-esque investigation into why a close friendship from the cartoonist’s youth abruptly ended. Mari and Jodie meet in high school in the late ’80s. Both are bisexual outsiders, and each troubled in their own way. A 14-year friendship follows. Boyfriends come and go; Mari calculates that they’ve slept with five of the same people. “Is that a lot? Or is it normal for a small community?” Mari ponders, in queries that hint at the obsession, compulsion, and queer enmeshment that drive this narrative. When Jodie ghosts Mari in 2001, Mari is haunted. Years later, they search social media and their own journals for clues. The volume opens with a “Friendship Graph... AKA This Is Crazy” that charts their interactions. Yet Jodie herself remains a cypher—a sometimes sex worker with low self-esteem, she is bighearted and a betrayer, and as porous as the shape-shifting leafy cloud used to represent her. Though some questions are answered, Mari is equally mystified by their own youthful insecurities and relationships, and the interrogation of their youthful self is both empathetic and fierce. All this is told through a captivating collage of cartoons, photos, and text. Its result equal parts wistful and skeptical, wise and all too human. Agent: Gordon Warnock, Fuse Literary Agency. (Feb.)