Review + GIVEAWAY: ‘Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir’ by Liz Prince

Tomboy a Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince


Oh no. I feel a philosophical post coming on…be warned!

Briefly: I’m not a huge (or middle-sized, even) reader of graphic novels. But when I was offered a chance to read Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir, I jumped at it. My kid is a lover of manga and graphic novels, and the topic was something that dovetailed with some things that I have been reading about/obsessing over lately. Tomboy, am I glad I did.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Liz Prince, she is a cartoonist who has been drawing for various publications as well as Adventure Time. (You can read yesterday’s interview when you’ve finished with this post!). This is her first novel, and it is all about her youth and adolescence and how she felt about growing up as a non-stereotypical girl. It’s both funny and sad, from people thinking she was a boy to being teased and harassed because she didn’t fit into certain people’s idea of what a girl should look like and act like.

So…: This book is honest and straightforward to its core. There’s no holding back on the candor, the awkwardness, the joy, the pain. I think if everyone were this honest, the world would be a better place (and, perhaps, we would all dress more comfortably). Unfortunately, some people’s idea of what constitutes a woman does not always jibe with how that female actually feels herself. I am not speaking of being gay or transgender, necessarily, but just the definition (or world view) of what makes a person a girl.

Of course, the time of Ms. Prince’s life that is being chronicled is the most difficult when it comes to not fitting in and are the most reliant upon gender stereotypes. Kids and teens put things into categories or boxes, and are stumped by those things that don’t exactly fit their preconceived notions. Many of us try to reassure those kids that are “different” that they will come into their own in college, but that can sometimes be little help when they are being bullied or teased now.

 Anything Else to Mention?: I would love for everyone to read this book and come out of it a more open person; a person who allows people to be themselves and to express their individuality without being punished for it. Ms. Prince’s mom is a wonderful role model when it comes to letting kids find themselves. And school administrators can take a leaf from her high school principal’s book regarding the need for some rules to be fluid.

Bonus: Here’s my personal philosophy. I like to think of people as all being on a spectrum. You’ve probably heard this term being used in relation to autism, but I think it works here, too. No one person is exactly alike. Even within groups that have belief systems, such as cultures, religious organizations, political parties, educational groups, etc., each and every member does not believe those systems in exactly the same way. They’re all spread out on that spectrum. Then, throw in families, peers, social groups, personal interests and experiences, your common (or not so common) sense, the way you learn, your self-esteem level and approximately a million or more other influences, and I ask you: how could we ever be a bunch of carbon copies?

And isn’t it great?

Now I am not going to sit here and tell you that I have it all together. Not by a long shot. To be honest, I am probably at my most noble and sensitive while reading news stories and watching Upworthy videos here at my computer. But I think the main thing is to try and meet on some kind of middle ground. There’s a way to understand people without giving up your beliefs. Though honestly, maybe that understanding of others is just what we need to get rid of some of those beliefs that need to go.

To Read or Not To Read: Absolutely. This book, while poignant and serious, is written in a very humorous way. Don’t let my navel-gazing get in the way of your reading this entertaining story.

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince was published Septemer 2, 2014 by Zest Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Zest Books and Liz Prince. 

Rating: 4

Genre: Adult/Young Adult Non-Fiction Memoir Graphic Novel
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Though the story concentrates on Ms. Prince’s youth and adolescence, there are some mature themes, including mentions of sex, profanity, smoking, drinking and drug use.

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