Are You My Mother?
Alison Bechdel, Jonathan Cape ($40)
I reviewed this book at the Rainbow Wellington Book Review evening late last year, and since then I have spoken with a number of people picking up graphic novels when they previously hadn’t – hopefully as a direct result of my obviously heartfelt review. Are You My Mother? Is the latest from Alison Bechdel, well known for her syndicated strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and also for Fun Home, both of which delve into GLBTI and feminist issues. Although I felt a huge sense of impending bias due to Bechdel being an established personal favourite of mine, I was genuinely surprised by the impression her latest book left on me. Whereas with Fun Home – after which I knew exactly how I felt (I loved it immediately), Are You My Mother?, which meditates on the complicated relationship between Bechdel and her mother, as well as the process of an artist at work, was something that took a little longer to settle into. Her illustrations have come a long way too. Are You My Mother? is fiercely intelligent. It is Bechdel pacing herself and producing considered work – this is when she is at her best.
Anna Libeau, Unity Wellington