Shame Pudding: A Graphic Memoir

Street Noise. May 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781951491024. pap. $16.99. Rated: Teen+. MEMOIR
Noble (Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked) details her formative years with a special emphasis on her relationship with her eccentric Jewish grandmothers, Min and Ma. Paternal grandmother, Min, is perpetually cheery, while Noble’s mother’s mother, Ma, is spikier but nonetheless adoring, and both prove endlessly supportive of the author as she ages from a child to young adulthood. As a girl, Noble is obsessed with music, werewolves, and drawing; as a teenager, she becomes consumed by anxiety, self-doubt, and shame that prevents her from expressing herself. Early engagement with leftist organizations and political activism boosts her self-esteem, and later she begins playing saxophone in a ska band and eventually works her way up to performing lead vocals. Through highs and lows, the Mas—as she collectively refers to her grandmothers—remains a constant source of encouragement and enduring love.
VERDICT A sensitive coming-of-age story and tribute to how the author’s family shaped her into the artist she is, illustrated in loose pen and ink lines and distorted forms that exude Noble’s warmth for her characters.
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