My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Kabi Nagata. Seven Seas, $13.99 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-62692-603-5
Nagata’s gripping autobiographical manga, already a cult hit online, opens with the loss of her virginity, at age 28, to a sex worker from a lesbian escort agency, but the bulk of her story is more about the loneliness than the lesbianism. Flashing back to early adulthood, Nagata presents herself as a bundle of neuroses, an introverted nerd suffering from depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and terminal awkwardness. She wants to be a manga artist, but meanwhile she has to find a paying job and endure her eternally disappointed parents. At the same time, her nebulous feelings around sex and intimacy coalesce into an undeniable attraction to women, though her practical knowledge of sex comes almost entirely from erotic boys’ love manga. When she sees an ad for a lesbian escort agency, a window finally opens in her claustrophobic existence. Nagata draws cute characters in simple, spindly lines tinted with dollops of pink, making even the lumpiest of her warts-and-all confessions look adorable. Her strength is in her writing, which mixes shockingly blunt honesty with humor and small, imaginative observations: “The texture of my first kiss was like a tomato.” This is a wrenching memoir from a major talent. (June)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
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