Thursday, September 5, 2013
Getting Married and Other Mistakes
Jo is a photographer who excels at shooting weddings, but when her own marriage ends in divorce she falls into a depression and starts looking at her life choices. First, she examines her relationship with her mother and how much she was prepared to attract and marry the right kind of man.
Next, she tries some casual sex to see if that will snap her out of her funk.
Finally, she ends up seeing a few different therapists in order to get a clearer picture of her life and choices.
Along the way, she comes to various realizations about herself, her upbringing, and why she feels the ways that she does. Also, she does not find any snap answers or solutions, and she continues to make some questionable choices, such as dating a much older man. Her friends weigh in on her misadventures, which adds another facet to the proceedings as well as a good dose of humor.
Getting Married and Other Mistakes could be very cynical and cold, but instead it reads in a positive and charming manner. Jo is a strong character, and gaining insight to her thoughts is not just a cliched exercise in New Age self-realization. The various other characters are not always so well defined, but they are memorable and realistic for the most part, excepting perhaps her mother, who is utterly non-reflective and conniving, a complete nightmare.
The art, as can be seen in the excerpted panels, is crisp and very clean, with vibrant colors enlivening the pages. I like the style, which is a mix of pop art and sequential art. The book is perhaps a bit text heavy at times, but I feel that the interplay with the words and the illustrations is clever and used to good effect.
The book's creator, Barbara Slate, is a long-time comics maker, with three decades of credits ranging from Angel Love at DC to Yuppies from Hell and Barbie comics at Marvel as well as a slew of Betty and Veronica comics from Archie. She also wrote an instructional art book called You Can Do a Graphic Novel, which she talks more about in this podcast interview and this interview article.
Most reviews I have read about this book have been positive, though there are some that find major issues with it. Jeannine at Closing Chapters called it "both witty and poignant." Irene S. Roth called it a "book every woman will relate to." The reviewer at Publishers Weekly offered a less enthusiastic response, "Slate’s attempt to present an insightful message of empowerment through a light and ostensibly funny narrative is flattened by art that is, even for the undemanding genre of chick lit comics, overly simplified."
Getting Married and Other Mistakes is published by Other Press. They offer a preview and more here.