Find it at your library!

As the last days of 2015 drained away, so did my attention span. I wanted to read, but I couldn’t engage, especially in the last few days before Christmas, when I was anxiously anticipating the receipt of a few specific books as gifts and the ones already on my shelf or freely available at the library had lost their shine. The books in my hand weren’t as appealing as those in the bush (or, in this case, under the tree).

Enter this graphic novel, just in time to salvage my end-of-year pre-holiday slump. It’s the kind of reading that doesn’t feel like work, but before you jump to conclusions, it’s not at all light or fluffy. This particular Diary of a Teenage Girl isn’t about crushing on celebs and buying lip gloss at the drugstore. Instead, it’s about Minnie Goetze, a sexually precocious fifteen-year-old in 1970s San Francisco who gets involved with her mother’s boyfriend. And of course, since it’s a graphic novel, there are pictures, and sometimes entire pages with comic strips! Good ones, too—author Phoebe Gloeckner is a talented artist.

Gloeckner is coy in the introduction about how much of the book is autobiographical, but based on the photos and excerpts from her own diary included at the back, it seems safe to say it’s firmly grounded in her memories and experiences. It read very authentically to me, with all the angst, self-absorption, brutal honesty, and bad decision-making you’d expect of a teenage girl. It was just what I needed in my life at the moment. I see more graphic novels in my future…