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While this graphic work is
subtitled "A Novel," it is a memoir.
It tells in drawings the story of a relationship between the artist,
Jeffrey Brown, and his girlfriend Theresa.
A map at the end of the book gives the timeline of their doomed
romance. They meet at 2 pm, on July 3,
2000, in Michigan, and date until she flies back to Florida, on July 19. He visits her there in August, and then
moves to Chicago. She visits him in his
new place in October, and he visits her for New Year's. She visits him again in February, and he
visits her in March. They meet in New
York for her brother's wedding, and then they break up in June 2001, by phone
and email. They are both in their early
20s, it seems, and they haven't had many serious relationships previously. The two of them are almost childlike
together, which is either charming or revolting, depending on your point of
view. They have a simple openness,
where they just say how much they like each other and reassure each other. For example, in one of their many long
distance phone conversations, Jeffrey apologizes to her for bring so
weird. She replies that she likes
weird, and he gets a big grin on his face.
The book is unusual for how much
sex it portrays. It is hardly
pornographic, since the drawing is so crude there is very little detail shown,
although it does seem clear that he looks better with his clothes on, and looks
rather wide around the middle without them.
Brown shows their enthusiasm for each other and the tenderness of their
feelings for each other as they become physically close. He does well in capturing the awkwardness
occasionally between them, as well as the way that the fun and romance make the
difficult moments bearable.
The pages have 6 frames each, and
so the story is told in more detail than AEIOU (reviewed in Metapsychology
August 2005), which portrayed a subsequent relationship, using fewer
frames and more telling moments of the relationship. The drawing is just as crude and amateurish as it was in AEIOU,
and while that will put off some readers, it is quite consistent and the
hand-made feel goes along with the juvenile feel of the relationship. It is a striking work, and it is also fun to
read, although the small size of each frame makes the writing hard to decipher
in some places.
© 2005 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of
the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at
Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online
Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine,
psychiatry and psychology.
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