cover image Girlsplaining: A (Sorta) Memoir

Girlsplaining: A (Sorta) Memoir

Katja Klengel, trans. from the German by Nika Knight. Archaia, $17.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-68415-662-7

Leg hair, disappointing toys, and Freudian sexism are put under the microscope in Klengel’s debut, a winsome collection of feminist-minded autobiographical comics. The frontispiece sets the tone: a two-page spread of close-up drawings of varied vulvas. In warm shades of red and pink, Klengel goes on to recount the anxieties that have dominated her life since girlhood. Bouts of full-body shaving alternate with imagining all the killer comebacks she wishes she’d quipped to men who sexually harassed her. Klengel maintains a sunny tone through all these snapshots of conflicted memories, and produces some uproariously funny bits, such as when she reimagines her sexual debut as involving Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. But she never flinches from acknowledging the shame shot through the formation of her identity, instilled by a patriarchal world. Klengel’s smoky pencils capture the cast of Sex and the City (with whom she engages in imaginary conversation) as neatly as a childhood squabble between her and her brother. The collection will appeal to fans of Jillian Tamaki and Emily Flake; Klengel tackles tough subjects, equally with an easy humor and steadfast conviction. [em](Mar.) [/em]