Expected publication: March 18th, 2019 by Second Story Press
From the publisher, “What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination against and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls with varied body types and personalities, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex. The book’s beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by young women, every day. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls will hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.”
I had the opportunity to review this through Netgalley, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although feminist fiction is not my usual repertoire, I am actively seeking out writers and books to learn and become more aware of it as a literary movement. This is a worthwhile example of feminist fiction that is well done and accessible.
Let’s start with the good. This is a very approachable book for a young teenager. The imagery is simple, honest, and direct. The minimalist approach to the illustrations helps in keeping its punchy and biting style. Rather than come off as simplistic, the author comes off as personal and has obviously experienced these things first hand. She makes the reader think and question the everyday sexism felt by women of all cultures, races, and sexual orientation. Furthermore, as approachable as this is it is also important for teenagers. Male, female or queer. It is a good straightforward look at the complexities of sexism and feminism.
One of the things that I struggled with was each page was its own separate idea individual idea that had little to do with the page before it or after it. It felt disjointed in a way that was a jarring to me as a reader. I understand that this book is not a story, but rather single thoughts that are coherently joined together by the unifying discussion about discrimination and unfairness. Even with a unifying idea, it was too disjointed for me to be able to flow from one page to the next.
All that being said, this is good. It took much of what women deal with on a daily basis and brought it to the forefront. I can absolutely see teenagers reading this and getting some perspective on the plights of women globally. Great read.