A fun foodie memoir by gastronome cartoonist Lucy Knisly. The story takes us from a childhood in New York City through her parent’s divorce and a move to upstate New York farm country through art school in Chicago — all the while documenting her experiences which primarily seem to revolve around food! I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but I did enjoy this one. It was more experience oriented than insightful (as compared to Mira Jacob’s “Good Talk”, for example). It was cheerful, made me hungry in a good way, and did a good job of distilling a story into captions and art. An example from a trip to Japan taken with her father: “I ate weirdness and drank strange. Like learning to eat all over again.”
A memoir in graphic novel form. I had read a great review which never even mentioned that it was a graphic novel — so it was a big surprise to me when I got it from the library! I’m not generally a graphic novel fan — I like language — but I found it to be an excellent medium for this book. Most of the content is in the form of conversations between the author and her son, her husband, her parents, her in-laws, and her friends — punctuated by the occasional “letter” or statement. The artwork provides the context which allow for the content to be more pithy — highlighting the essence in a way that is difficult to do with too many words.
The author is East Indian and is married to a Jewish man. Much (most) of the book is about her experience as a person of color, extending from childhood, through 9/11, and to the current Trump era. The opening chapter features a conversation with her six-year old son about Michael Jackson — whom he loves — and whether Michael is black, brown, or white and which of the three he liked best. A brilliant opening. The closing is a kind of letter to her son about the man she hopes he can become given the current political climate.
For me, her descriptions of bigotry and racism as she struggled to explain them to her curious son were both fascinating and educational. The word “racism” is thrown around a lot these days, and her definition (supplemented by some google searching) helped me understand the difference between them in a way I hadn’t previously. I appreciated the many different examples of stereotyping and the confusion that ensues even when people want to treat others the “right” way. In her life, her own extended family in India found her “too dark” to ever be attractive to a good candidate husband; she stumbles over what to say to the first lesbian she meets; and is given a particular job because the wealthy white woman hiring knows they will have a lot in common because she (the white woman) likes yoga and is spiritual. The author has to explain to her son that sometimes Indian people can be mean to others on the basis of race also, which saddens him because he wanted to be one of the “good guys”.
This is a riveting, well-written exploration of one woman’s experience as a person of color and — due to the graphic format — a pretty fast read!