Monday, November 13, 2006

book 38: Girl Stories by Lauren Weinstein

Girl Stories- I have them, you have them, someone you know has them, and yet, when it comes to mainstream storytelling, people don’t care so much about our stories unless there is a lot of chances to show violence, teen titty (or violence plus teen bodies) or maybe horses*. All of those things, of course, are parts of many of our stories (mine too, sans horses) but sometimes it feels like unless the girl characters in question are victimized, they are worthless, and lack compelling narrative power. That is an ugly bind for girls and for the women we have come to be.

Girl Stories is a collection of comics that invite us ladies and our gentleman friends to just laugh and enjoy girlhood through Lauren Weinstein’s fabulous depiction of her childhood self. The comics were originally made for and the intended audience was, yes, girls. Luckily for us adults, Weinstein’s stories work on many levels and don’t require complete identification with Lauren and her friends to be funny and compelling.

Though I am sure the story featuring Morrissey will stir many a heart, my favorite two have to be ‘The Incident’ and ‘John & I Go To The Movies.’ The former tells a tale of revenge with a side dish of poop. I like how Weinstein shows the anxiety of burgeoning friendships, and then shows how sometimes it can be worth just trusting your instincts. The latter is mostly wordless, and when Lauren’s dad shows up to her date unexpected, the line he delivers is crushing; Weinstein manages to show all the conflicting feelings of being someone’s child: pity, embarrassment, protective love and exasperation, in just a few lines. That is why I love her work.

Though Girl Stories lacks the delightful nastiness of Inside Vineyland (seriously, my eyes light up when I think of that book), it is well worth checking out. Buy it for a smart girl you know or an amazing lady that needs a boost. If you have no friends, buy it for yourself and then tell a stranger about it. If they don’t run away the second you say “comics,” you might have found a keeper.

* I recently saw Weinstein read at Mo Pitkins for the Grace Reading Series Comics Showcase. She read a story called 'Horse Camp.' It was so awesome that it transcended girl + horses= awww + subliminated sexuality. I loved it.

If you live in NYC and can’t afford to buy Girl Stories the NYPL has 63 copies. Go to their website and request that GS be sent to your branch library ASAP. The Brooklyn Public Library seems to have none. Obviously someone needs to write a letter. If you don’t have a library card, what the fuck is wrong with you? And GO GET ONE!


moonlight ambulette said...

Have you seen the comics exhibit at the Jewish museum? Sounds interesting...

moonlight ambulette said...

woo! new look. light and bright. lite brite. pretty.

write a new post already. i'm sick of reading this one.

Carrie said...

My mom told me about the comics in the Jewish Museum. Want to go?

And, I am working on a new post, but also on a million other things. How does it feel to want?

Bwa ha ha !!!