Originally published in: 2013- English translation, the original German version was published in 2009.
What’s it about: A graphic memoir tracing one woman’s adventures traveling Italy illegally in the summer of 1984 with a friend as a 17-year-old Austrian punk with no money, no papers, and no plan.
What made me pick it up: This was new to our library and, as always, I couldn’t turn down a graphic memoir.
My favorite things: The author mixes in a few excerpts from her journals and letters that she wrote during the summer she was traveling, which makes her story feel more authentic. I appreciated how frank and honest she was about all of her experiences – no matter how painful or how many laws she happened to be breaking at the time.
Who it’s great for: Fans of gritty travel memoirs; graphic memoirs.
Find this in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).
Originally published in: 2017
What it’s about: Roxane Gay reflects on her life in her body. She explores struggles with size, eating disorders, assault, and what it’s like to exist in a world that wasn’t designed to accommodate your body.
What made me pick it up: I love Roxane Gay’s work and I thought this book sounded important.
My favorite things: Take a deep breath before you dive into this because it is deep, raw, and painfully honest. She doesn’t shy away from details of her assault or the ways she thinks of her assailant to this day. She even takes the time to explain why she’s more comfortable identifying as a victim of sexual violence rather than as a survivor – without condemning or questioning those who do identify as survivors. The courage and openness throughout Hunger is consistently inspiring.
Who it’s great for: Fans of Roxane Gay’s other work. Memoir readers looking for something heavy to dig into.
Find this book at Amazon or in your local library.
Originally published in: 2015
What it’s about: The author uses the graphic novel format to recount her experiences growing up during the terror caused by the Yorkshire Ripper and reflect on her personal experiences of sexual assault.
What made me pick it up: I saw a colleague with it and was instantly fascinated.
My favorite things: Each aspect of this graphic memoir comes together in a powerful condemnation of rape culture and victim blaming. The art is incredible and occasionally so arresting that I had to put down the book. For me, the strongest part of the book was also the most difficult to get through- a series of illustrations imagining what the victims of the ripper would be doing today.
Who it’s great for: Don’t pick this up if you’re looking for a quick or light read – this is for readers looking for something very raw and real. A great choice for those interested in dissecting rape culture and understanding the experiences of survivors.
Intrigued? Find a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.