GRAPHIC NOVELS

Queen of Snails: A Graphic Memoir

Graphic Mundi Nov. 2022. 232p. ISBN 9781637790366. $25.95. MEMOIR
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In this illustrated memoir about familial trauma and recovery, Burdock (Feminist Fables for the Twenty-First Century) depicts herself as a happily married queer woman with children who is in her late 40s when her mother dies. The death comes several years after Burdock had decided to explore her past and to reappraise the traumas that had ruptured the family and wrecked the lives of her younger self, her mother, and other women relatives. An idyllic childhood in Germany had been disrupted by a family schism when she was six. It fractured her support system, and she was abandoned by one adult relative after another. This had been a family pattern. Indeed, three generations of her women kin had been subjected to abandonment, war, and sexual violence. As described through unusual yet effective symbolism that includes garden snails and ear canals, Burdock rediscovers, reprocesses, and comes to understand her past, to at last lay it to rest at her mother’s funeral. Exquisite color-enhanced grays in a soft realism plus hand-lettering lend a striking lyricism to Burdock’s uncomfortable and inspiring journal.
VERDICT In a triumph of recovery and reinvention, Burdock has reworked her chaotic past to build a memory-rich present through research, reflection, and compelling artistry.
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