I accepted a review copy of Maybe an Artist, by Elizabeth Montague as part of it’s tour with TBR and Beyond Book Tours. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for author/artist information and the official tour schedule.
A heartfelt and funny graphic novel memoir from one of the first Black female cartoonists to be published in the New Yorker, when she was just 22 years old.
When Liz Montague was a senior in college, she wrote to the New Yorker, asking them why they didn’t publish more inclusive comics. The New Yorker wrote back asking if she could recommend any. She responded: yes, me.
Those initial cartoons in the New Yorker led to this memoir of Liz’s youth, from the age of five through college–how she navigated life in her predominantly white New Jersey town, overcame severe dyslexia through art, and found the confidence to pursue her passion. Funny and poignant, Liz captures the age-old adolescent questions of “who am I?” and “what do I want to be?” with pitch-perfect clarity and insight.
This brilliant, laugh-out-loud graphic memoir offers a fresh perspective on life and social issues and proves that you don’t need to be a dead white man to find success in art.
I’m really into graphic memoirs right now. So, I was excited to get my hands on this. I thought it was a poignant, funny, super cute coming of age story. The art is perfect for the tone of the book. There is humor (especially round the passage of time) and I think a lot of young people will relate to the struggles Montague depicts.
I did kind of feel like starting the book with the events of 9/11 felt odd. I grasped that it marks the reader in time and was, of course, a salient experience for a lot of people that age. But it also felt abrupt and anchor-less, since we didn’t even know Montague yet.
All in all, however, I enjoyed this though. I’ll be passing it to my 15-year-old next. She’s left-handed, starting to feel the strain of choosing a future life path, art-minded, and vacillating about whether to include it in her career plans. I think even people not sharing quite so many qualities with past Montague will get a lot out of this book. But I especially think my budding artist will.