Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Reader's Diary #1949- Julia Kaye: Super Late Bloomer

Earlier this year I read Sabrina Symington's First Year Out and while Julia Kaye's Super Late Bloomer is also a transgender woman's memoir of transitioning, they are two very different books. I suppose this should go without saying to some extent; just because two women are transgendered does not mean they have identical personalities. And for sure, they do. They also have some common experiences; self-doubt, friends who accept them and friends that don't, good days, bad days, etc. But what I mean when I say that they are both very different books is their approach.

I would say Symington's aimed to be a bit more comprehensive. While still telling her own personal story, she also got into everything from the science, philosophy, and politics of gender and transitioning. Kaye's focuses almost entirely on her own experience, treating it as a day to day journal of transitioning. With those differences, both obviously have their own unique strengths and would appeal to different readers who come to the books with different purposes in mind.

I would Kaye's offers a more intimate portrait and readers of any gender will likely cheer her on when she's up and cheer her up when she's down.

The art felt a bit on the rushed side for me, coming across more as a newspaper strip than a graphic novel. For the humorous moments, it fit. And I would imagine that drawing a daily journal strip was cathartic for Kaye, that spending weeks on a single set of panels would have taken away from that aspect. Still, some colour, some refinement, some extra detail in the backgrounds, would have made me appreciate it more.

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