Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Tomboy

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
By Liz Prince
Published 2014 by Zest Books

Liz never really fit in - she wasn't a girly girl and she wasn't one of the guys. She was somewhere in between. But being a misfit growing up is not easy.

Guys, I have a problem with resisting book temptation. This book, for instance. I was in the middle of, I kid you not, five other books when I spotted it sitting on our graphic novel shelf and thought, "well, it won't take me that long to read..." Where is my self-control??

I wasn't wrong - I finished this in about two hours. I've been interested since I first heard of it, particularly as more and more attention is drawn to the horrors of growing up female. That's what I liked best about this book - Prince doesn't shy away from explicitly depicting the bull crap double standards our society has for young women. I probably never would have described myself as a tomboy growing up, but I definitely was a misfit. As a young woman, it's not hard to be aware of all the bull crap society throws at you but, as a young woman, you've been taught to feel that there's nothing you can do about it. I loved the moment in Prince's book when an adult friend says something along the lines of "are you sure it's girls you hate? Or is it society's notion of what a girl is?" That line is so hard to distinguish as a young woman because, among the rest, part of the bull crap girls are taught is to hate other girls. As I said, I wouldn't have described myself as a tomboy, but that doesn't mean I didn't know how much easier I'd have it if I were a boy. In fact, I can remember wishing to be a boy, despite my lack of tomboy tendencies, because I knew I and my feelings would be accepted more readily if I were a boy.

I appreciated the casualness of Prince's book - the art has a casual quality to it that makes it more accessible, I think, and the story feels like listening to a new friend talk about their life growing up. I did think it ended rather abruptly, but I also wouldn't have wanted to read forever, so I guess it makes sense. Definitely glad I checked this one out - now back to my other books!


  1. This would have made sense when I was growing up, but it makes no sense now. My daughters both ran and had a variety of non "girly" interests, but no one ever gave them a hard time. My 16 year old wears jeans and hoodies everyday. I'll have to read this, because it just doesn't seem as applicable today. My school has girls on the football team and guy cheerleaders.

    1. I think a lot of that would have to do with your particular community. I got picked on a lot, though not for being a tomboy necessarily, so it still seemed applicable to me. Also, my interactions with some of the teens who volunteer at our library would suggest they've had similar experiences.