GRAPHIC NOVELS

Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self

Random. Sept. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9781984801517. pap. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781984801500. Rated: Teen+. MEMOIR
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Finck follows up her acclaimed debut, Passing for Human, with a sophomore collection that doesn’t shrink away from dark or heavy topics, yet that doesn’t make her comics any less funny. Sections such as “Humanity” and “Gender Politics and Politics in General” feature Finck’s fast-and-loose drawing style (reminiscent of James Thurber had he been drawing as a thirtysomething in New York in the 2010s), along with smart, self-deprecatory observations that perfectly convey the absurdity of life in 2019. Finck, who has an enthusiastic following on Instagram and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, doesn’t limit herself to the traditional single-panel comic. She meanders from charts, diagrams, and lists to simple sketches of objects with sparse, slow-burn captions. The final section, “Notes to Self,” is almost completely prose, sans illustration. This switching from drawings to text works, however, thanks to Finck’s always present wit.
VERDICT Adult readers from most walks of life will admire Finck’s poignant observations and find something to laugh (or laugh-cry) at, but the author’s fellow Millennials will find her treatment of modern woes especially relatable.

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