Gumballs by Erin Nations. Top Shelf, 2018. ISBN 9781603094313
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction/graphic novel
What did you like about the book? The travails and joys of being a triplet and daily life as a trans person are affectionately portrayed in this graphic novel memoir/short comics collection. There are short, long and one page features, so it’s easy to pick up and put down to enjoy. Nations helpfully color codes the categories of featured work, in a sweetly librarian-like way. Reading of his childhood of gender dysphoria and the process of transitioning must be comforting to other trans people, and is a great insight for the rest of us. Gentle humor, mainly self-deprecating, makes the book feel realistic and truthful. Fun is poked, and none are spared, including himself and the trans community. I especially like his reflections on male privilege, as he becomes more increasingly perceived as male by the public. The art has a unique stylization of people, which makes everyone look slightly ridiculous.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I didn’t love the blocky take on humans.
To whom would you recommend this book? Offer this to older teens or adults looking for graphic novel portrayals of trans people.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Teen or adult graphic novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, especially if you are looking to increase your collection of LGBTQ materials
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: July 24, 2018
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