Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Reader's Diary #1875- Sabrina Symington: First Year Out

Very early into Sabrina Symington's graphic novel First Year Out: A Transition Story I chastised myself for dwelling too much on the didactic nature of the book. First off, some topics need to be forthright and obvious; the level of ignorance in society practically demands it. Second, and most importantly, the story is about the transitioning of a transgender woman. My real issue with didactic stories is when they're not upfront about it. You know, those authors that pretend to be writing a ghost story or mystery or something and not-so-casually drop in other educational themes.

So, if First Year Out: A Transition Story is educational (and it is), it was intentionally so. Everything is explored here, from gender theory and feminism, family and society acceptance, mental health, the range of different experiences by transgendered folks, physical and scientific explanations, and so on. Some of these topics I was already familiar with, some I was not (I hadn't, for instance, ever heard of TERF politics). The book could be dialogue heavy at times, but necessarily so and still not at the expense of the central character Lily who was easy to want to see succeed, to find happiness.

The art work was not really my cup of tea, finding it amateurish-looking, but not so much that it took away from my enjoyment. Besides, its simple nature helped balance out some of the complex themes.

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