Let me first start by stating that I do not think that getting married means you've won the golden ring, or that you needed to be be coupled in any manner to be worthy of respect or value. I do personally know women who had a crisis because they were not married by thirty, and dang it, but forty was the absolute latest this sorry state would be allowed to continue until something drastic would be done. Not my jam, but to each their own.
This graphic memoir explores the trails, tribulations, expectations, stereotypes, and joys of being a bride and deciding to have a DIY wedding. The author has clearly matured in her storytelling skills, and in this book dives more deeply into the themes explored. However, she still seems to shy away from taking deep dives, which leaves me, the reader, wanting more. I have to keep reminding myself that she is brave for putting as much of herself out there as she's currently comfortable doing. There are humorous and poignant moments in this story, and I appreciated her resistance to many of the cultural/religious/societal/capitalist norms, but it's her day, and she can have it any way she dang well chooses. The illustrations are typical of her signature style, and are colorful and cute.
At 300 pages this is a long time to spend with the author and her wedding planning, yet I do think that she bucks the mainstream commercialism surrounding weddings and for that I'll round up my 3.5 rating. Rating: 4 stars.
17. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
I listened to the audiobook which is wonderfully narrated by Neil himself.
This is a collection of essays, introductions, speeches, and reviews about a diverse range of topics, including authors (dead and alive), music, the power of stories, comics, fairy tales, and pretty much anything else that the author is interested in. As with any collected works, there are pieces I loved and others I did not. I'd highly recommend the first hundred or so pages, where he talks about his love of literature, stories, libraries and librarians, and his childhood influences. I loved this section, and that alone deserved five stars. The rest were more of a hit or miss depending on whether I knew or cared about the authors/artists/books/music discussed. Still, a must read for Neil fans. I dipped in and out this collection over a couple of weeks, and that felt like the perfect way to experience this one. Rating: 3 stars.
18. The One Hundred Nights of Hero
I really liked her first graphic novel, so was looking forward to the publication of this one. It's a beautiful book - the actual book I mean - and the story itself is an Arabian Nights type saga. While I didn't love every one of the stories, I was delighted by the feminist take of these strange fairy tales. The art is folksy and sketchy with wonderful use of color. This is an ode to stories and storytellers, especially women. Delightful. Rating: 4 stars.