Every now and again, I crave a graphic novel. It uses a different side of my brain, they are quick and easy to read, and they almost always pull me out of a reading funk. I just don't always make the effort to order them from the library...I'm always worrying about getting other things read that are sitting on my nightstand.
So one day I was killing time in a Barnes & Noble, and I picked through all the Marvel Comics and anime to find this book. I know nothing about the author or the story. It just looked interesting. Who doesn't smuggle a little bottle of wine into the movies, after all? (Really? You don't?)
So this is a story about Julia, and her first year or so of living in New York City. Her move from San Francisco in the summer of 2007 was an impulsive one, a behavior she is known for. Her entire family lives on the West coast, including a brother that has a drug addiction and is known for OD-ing on a regular basis. Moving across the country was contrary to all common sense.
But off she goes, flying standby, sleeping in airports, finding the necessary subway train closed for repairs, forgetting the address of her final destination...it becomes apparent that this is just the type of life Julia leads. She bounces from job to job, from apartment to apartment, trying to make ends meet. What does she want to do when she grows up? Will she ever grow up? She locks herself repeatedly out of her apartment. She loses her wallet. A squirrel pees on her head in the park. She gets a suspicious rash on her butt. All the while she blames New York. She begins drinking to soothe her bruised ego and depression.
It may sound dire, but Wertz keeps her humor and humility. She even shows her head open like a tin can and her brain escaping for big adventures. She also animates her wallet, imagining all the fun it has once she accidentally leaves it in a cab.
Ultimately Julia comes to the realization, one worthy of a grown-up, that her rotten luck is truly her own doing, and not at the fault of New York City.
Is the book earth-shattering? Not really, and the author admits that it is a story often told. She apologizes to anyone who is sick of hearing these tales. But it is her self-effacing attitude that makes this book enjoyable and often hilarious (as long as you aren't offended by bad language). Definitely worthy of any graphic novel-lover's time and attention.
4 out of 5 stars