Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing Pretty Pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys either, as she quickly learned when her Little League baseball coach exiled her to the outfield instead of letting her take the pitcher’s mound. Liz was somewhere in the middle, and Tomboy is the story of her struggle to find the place where she belonged.
Tomboy is a graphic novel about refusing gender boundaries, yet unwittingly embracing gender stereotypes at the same time, and realizing later in life that you can be just as much of a girl in jeans and a T-shirt as you can in a pink tutu. A memoir told anecdotally, Tomboy follows author and zine artist Liz Prince through her early childhood into adulthood and explores her ever-evolving struggles and wishes regarding what it means to “be a girl.”From staunchly refuting anything she perceived as being “girly” to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, regardless of your gender,Tomboy is as much humorous and honest as it is at points uncomfortable and heartbreaking.
I am giving Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince 4/5 stars.
Now, before reading Tomboy, I had no idea that graphic memoir was even a genre, but I have to say I need to find more of them, because it is such a fun unique way to tell ones story. I also feel that it was the style choice to use to tell Prince’s story of growing up as a Tomboy.
I truly think Tomboy is a great book for young people to read to help them understand gender, gender roles, and gender identity. In recent years all of these topics have started to become more and more openly looked at and talked about, but people still aren’t 100% sure what to say or think. Tomboy addresses these issues, through looking at different stages of Prince’s life from childhood, to where she is now as an adult in her early 30’s.
Now as much as I loved Prince’s story, I did find it a bit slow and repetitive at parts. Besides these little bits slowness and repetitiveness, Tomboy was an amazing story about being yourself an finding comfort in who you are.
About the Author:
I have been a comic artist and a self-publisher since I was in high school in the mid-90’s. In 2005 my book Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? was published by Top Shelf Productions; it won an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Debut. Top Shelf has since published two more of my autobio comic collections, Delayed Replays in 2008, and Alone Forever earlier this year. In September my first full length graphic novel, a memoir about adolescence and gender stereotypes called Tomboy, comes out from Zest Books.
I have had comics published in numerous anthologies, drawn stories for the wildly popular Adventure Time series, and I am a columnist for the punk magazine Razorcake.