Uncivilized. Apr. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781941250334. $24.95. Rated: Teen+. fic/LGBTQ
DEBUT Author/illustrator Wroten’s first graphic novel focuses on recent college graduate Caroline Bertram, a queer, alcoholic, aspiring fiction writer prone to swinging wildly between delusions of grandeur and crippling anxiety. Opening as Caroline moves into her first apartment postcollege, the plot largely revolves around our protagonist’s growing fascination with a female professional wrestler named Cannonball and an attempt at writing a YA novel that will prove her genius to her friends and family. But it’s Caroline’s misadventures—various flings, bad parties, awkward social encounters—that fascinate, as Wroten develops an incisive character study of a young woman who can’t quite bring herself to accept that a sense of self-worth doesn’t necessarily follow financial, creative, or romantic success. Is Caroline as talented as she insists she is? Will she sell out or somehow remain artistically pure? Is it even possible to avoid selling out? Is a consuming interest in such questions a sign of extreme immaturity?
VERDICT Wroten’s knack for character development and legitimately witty banter, combined with her expressive cartooning and exquisite use of pastel color, result in a highly engaging story about an occasionally abrasive but ultimately sympathetic character
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