gretchening: picture of my face, looking mischievous, with dyed red hair in front (Default)
[personal profile] gretchening
On the recommendation of [personal profile] bibliofile, who stopped by the store last night, I picked up Cristy Road's graphic novel pre-teen memoir Spit & Passion

Cover of Spit and Passion - Ink drawing of a woman with a Rolling Stone magazine with Green Day on the cover and the top of her head through her backward FL Marlins cap is an exposed brain with the Golden Gate Bridge bursting form it

I enjoyed this book! I've seen Road's art decorating a lot of radical and feminist publications, posters, music, postcards, art etc. She designed some gift certificate art for our sister store Women and Children First in Chicago. I'd be happy to hear what anyone knows about her and her other work--she definitely seems fascinating and I think indie comics can use some more unapologetic queer voices and the stories of people of color, so... I'd like to know more.

Anyhow! So aside from knowing a bit about her artistic publishing history, I came to this book knowing absolutely nothing about the author. It pleasantly surprised me, especially considering my relatively recent and consuming love of certain pop punk acts. The memoir is mostly centered around her middle school years, growing up in a Cubana household of working class women and children in Miami Beach, coming to terms with the fact of her queerness within a loving family embedded in a deeply religious culture inimicable to homosexuality.

A lot of the story is about her inner struggles and how she turned to deep attachments to popular culture, which I deeply appreciated. First, Ren & Stimpy, which I would say still to this day influences her art and the way her pen often relishes the blemishes of life. Then, her intense committment to Green Day and the way her obsession with the band influenced her perspectives, relationships, socialization, gender presentation, attempts to fit in, attempts to rebel, attempts to obscure her burgeoning sexuality and her first shy gestures toward coming out. I think my favorite page in the book is her discussion of the band's fraught relationship with its fans, the diehard early supporters who accused them of selling out... but that very act of selling out is all that made it possible for Road to learn of and love them, and provided her glimpses of a radical queer alternative world that exists in the East Bay and gave her a glimmer of hope for more beyond her self-isolation.

I really enjoy Road's art, which is distinctive, bold, prodigious and unapologetically imperfect. I find her writing a bit pretentious and abstract--I think the moments in which we get details of her lives and her interactions with family and friends, the details of her imaginings, are the strongest parts of this book. There were a few too many abstract digressions into poetic self-analysis for my taste, especially the conclusion of the volume. That said, I did like this book overall, I thought it gave a specific, realized, passionate account and I recommend it.


gretchening: picture of my face, looking mischievous, with dyed red hair in front (Default)

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