cover image Fart School

Fart School

Mel Stringer. Silver Sprocket, $24.99 (200p) ISBN 979-8-88620-015-7

Surprisingly poignant given its flip title, Stringer’s sincere and witty debut memoir recounts her early 2000s decision to leave her small hometown in Australia to attend art school in big-city Brisbane. She hopes to become a professional cartoonist, but upon discovering she’s too late to enroll in the animation program, Stringer reluctantly opts to study visual arts, where she encounters a faculty and student body who amplify her self-doubt and anxiety about her chosen career path. Struggling with coursework she finds uninspiring and sparring with instructors (who are running out the clock in dilapidated facilities slated for demolition), she maintains her sanity trading zines and demo CDs with artist friends. Devotees of Dan Clowes’s beloved teenage dramadies will appreciate Stringer’s neurotic, angsty worldview as she tries to find her way in the adult world. Though this is most likely to strike a chord with actual past and present art school comrades, any reader who’s ever felt like a fish out of water will be drawn in by the irresistible loose cartoony art style and cheery color palette. This funny portrait of the artist as a young adult is a charmer. (Mar.)