Thursday, January 31, 2013
Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole J. Georges
This is a genre of graphic novels that I'm coming to love more and more....the graphic memoir. I think it's such a unique and powerful way for one to tell one's story. And that's no exception here with Calling Dr. Laura. I was charmed and in love with this one from page one. Really I was charmed with the cover alone of this one...isn't that cover great? Then I started reading it and I just fell more and more in love.
I really didn't know much about this one going into it. I had heard a little bit of buzz about it and read the jacket flap at the bookstore. The jacket flap told me it was about a young woman who had her palm read by a psychic and was told that her father who she thought dead was still alive. After initially blowing it off, the reading seemed to follow her until she learned that he indeed hadn't died like her mother and family had told her he had when she a young child.
But there's SO much more to the story than that. In fact, that's just a small part of the story. There's the whole getting to that point. The background. We have to learn who Nicole Georges is first and where she came from to understand why she was told her father was dead. And in telling that story there are so many moments of heartbreak and so many moments of little smiles.
She comes from a childhood that wasn't exactly happy and she portrays it honestly in glimpses as we go back between the here and the now. In the here, she's living in Portland as an open lesbian and a vegan and raising chickens and doggies and trying to make a dysfunctional relationship work. In the past, she's also trying to make a dysfunctional relationship work but that relationship is with her mother and the abusive men she brings into her home.
Georges gives us a memoir that is so touching, so filled with grief and humor that could've gone wrong in so many ways, but in her capable hands, it goes nothing but right. It could've just been a horribly depressing story and that's fine if it would've been. She had some depressing shit happened to her. Or it could've been this very surface level vegan/queer/portland living hipster graphic novel, but it totally wasn't because Nicole showed us the real her. She went under that surface and didn't let it become fodder for a Portlandia episode.
In the end, I truly had nothing but love for this memoir and I can't wait to read more of her work and see what else she has to come. Oh and the art!!! I almost forgot the art!!! It's so perfect. It's a mix between adorable and realistic and then all of a sudden, bite you with meaning and pierce you in the heart. Yeah...it was good. Oh, and yes, she does actually call Dr. Laura.