cover image Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Résumé, Ages 0–22

Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Résumé, Ages 0–22

MariNaomi, Harper Perennial, $14.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-200923-4

The series of sketches that make up this memoir are arranged by the author/narrator's age, beginning with before her birth, when we see her parents meet in Japan. In bold, graphic black and white drawings, sometimes reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi, the author describes a frankly startling range of shenanigans in her early teenage years. These include long stints as a runaway and many sexual and romantic entanglements along the way. Never flinching from the down and dirty details of what went on with all these guys (and, eventually, girls), the author gives a refreshing and poignant look at early sexual experience and romance, including the actually dirty, the tragic, and the semisweet. Unfortunately, this "résumé" doesn't present in-depth exploration of the character holding them all together. It comes as a surprise, for instance, when she runs away from home and stays away for three months, with the emotional ramifications of that only nominally acknowledged by the quick summary of her later maturing process in an epilogue. MariNaomi does a wonderful job of painting a series of portraits of moments of adolescence, capturing its awkwardness and strangeness and excitement, but a greater whole never emerges. (Apr.)