Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection

Andrews McMeel. Mar. 2020. 128p. ISBN 9781524852450. pap. $14.99. Rated: Teen+. memoir
Creator Xiao (with Ashima Shiraishi, How To Solve a Problem) opens this thought-provoking collection with a series of strips capturing the aftermath of her decision to reveal her sexuality to her mother, and goes on to cover depression, anxiety, gender, body issues, and other subjects she faces as a queer Chinese immigrant living in the United States. Less than vignettes of reflections, the work seems interested in actually conveying the overwhelming emotions the author is experiencing. An illustration of herself contemplating her life while wandering a winding rainbow path depicted in full color on the left side of the page and black and white on the right contrasts the happiness she feels at living independently and making her own choices against the cost of accumulating secrets and feeling isolated. Several pages show her flying through the air, although there are more where she’s plummeting from a great height. “What Are You Afraid of Bingo” features squares depicting fears of bedbugs, being bullied, and cancer.
VERDICT This compelling and illuminating collection brings together new and previously published online material from a courageous and deeply sensitive artist.

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