cover image I Don’t Want to Be a Mom

I Don’t Want to Be a Mom

Irene Olmo, trans. from the Spanish by Kendra Boileau. Graphic Mundi, $19.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-63779-059-5

Olmo’s cheeky graphic memoir debut deploys whimsical art to buoy a serious investigation into why she doesn’t want children. She first becomes conscious that motherhood is a choice when a friend in high school gets pregnant, inspiring a classroom abortion debate. In college, she commits to a child-free life despite being nagged by nosy relatives convinced she’ll change her mind. As time goes on, she feels ostracized by her female peers, whose “moms’ gravitational network” is dominated by talk of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and competitive schools, while their male partners aren’t expected to center their lives around their children. “I can’t help feeling like a Martian,” Olmo reflects. Her observations about the no-win situations women face when making decisions about their families are nothing new, but her charming, fantasy-tinged artwork, with big-headed characters reminiscent of gag manga drifting through landscapes of bright primary colors and peppy pastels, provides a heaping spoonful of sugar to help the feminist frustration (and snark) go down smooth. This playful yet impassioned take on a contentious topic charms. (Nov.)