Nicole Georges' memoir in comic strip format is sweetly endearing. In Calling Dr. Laura
, Georges portrays her younger lesbian self in search of the truth about her father -- a man who had supposedly died when she was a baby. Along the way, she negotiates relationship minefields with her unpredictable mother and her surly girlfriend.
|Georges' blended lesbian household includes an assortment of chickens |
(kept outdoors, unless injured) and five dogs (sharing the bed here).
I learned new words from the cover of the book: 'zinester' (someone who creates zines), 'Portlandy' (of Portland) and 'femme gay' (a lesbian femme). These words aren't in the text, by the way. They are used by others to describe Georges, a lovable and multi-talented artist with retro sensibilities.
Fans of poultry will appreciate the details in the panels that include chickens. I smiled to see a speech balloon containing a small heart and an exclamation point: a chicken's response to being fed.
|Interior scenes give a lovely sense of Georges' home.|
Lots of black ink in the illustrations helps to set apart the later time frame from the earlier one.
Georges describes the time she used baked goods to lure a romantic interest into her home. "Chocolate peanut butter cups were a really popular item during this time, as they were the only fail-proof recipe in the vegan cookbook my Portland friends all owned. The book was from Canada, and had somehow gone awry in the conversion from metric. As a result, 'cookie bars' were hockey pucks, and brownies like biscuits. The peanut butter cups were a stroke of luck, delicious and unscathed." (The cookbook isn't named, but my guess is that it's likely How It All Vegan
, by the tattooed, vintage-attired Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.)
|Flashbacks to Georges' childhood are done in a different, less realistic style with lots of white.|
Nicole's much older sister is also a lesbian.
Georges' sister Liz did not have a good experience coming out to their mother. "'The verbal beating of my life,' as Liz recalls it. Liz and Mom stopped speaking shortly thereafter. I didn't imagine my coming out would go any better, and so... I didn't tell my mom." Secrets always make life difficult, however, and Georges eventually figures out how to deal with them.
Calling Dr. Laura
is a heartfelt, funny and charming memoir.
Readalikes: Fun Home
(Alison Bechdel); Likewise
(Ariel Schrag); The Floundering Time
(Katy Weselcouch); The Imposter's Daughter
(Laurie Sandell); and Drinking at the Movies
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