Monday, August 06, 2007

The Diary of a Teenage Girl, by Phoebe Gloeckner

In this highly original story of growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s, Phoebe tells the (presumably autobiographical) story of Minnie, the daughter of an alcoholic and abusive mother who sleeps with one of her Mom's boyfriends, takes lots of drugs, and fails her way through her junior year of high school. It's a disturbing and dark story with some very believable moments and motivations (especially Minnie's misguided search for affection through having sex with older guys). As such, the work is groundbreaking for its honesty.

It is also so gross and removed from most adolescents' experiences that it is a hard sell. Sure, we've all experimented, but the sheer depth to which Minnie falls to will turn off many readers. And the explicitness of the story (and its drawings) certainly turned me off. Still, if cult comix are your thing and you like some pervo graphic novel stuff, there may be something here for you. A strange combination of exploitation and empowerment by an author who couldn't quite decide which she was more interested in. Complex like life.

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