Daily Archives: September 2, 2014

Review ~ Tomboy

This book was provided to me by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt & Zest Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tomboy by Liz Prince

Cover via Goodreads

Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing Pretty Pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys either, as she quickly learned when her Little League baseball coach exiled her to the outfield instead of letting her take the pitcher’s mound. Liz was somewhere in the middle, and Tomboy is the story of her struggle to find the place where she belonged.

Tomboy is a graphic novel about refusing gender boundaries, yet unwittingly embracing gender stereotypes at the same time, and realizing later in life that you can be just as much of a girl in jeans and a T-shirt as you can in a pink tutu. A memoir told anecdotally, Tomboy follows author and zine artist Liz Prince through her early childhood into adulthood and explores her ever-evolving struggles and wishes regarding what it means to “be a girl.” From staunchly refuting anything she perceived as being “girly” to the point of misogyny, to discovering through the punk community that your identity is whatever you make of it, regardless of your gender, Tomboy is as much humorous and honest as it is at points uncomfortable and heartbreaking. (via Goodreads)

According to Tomboy,  as a kid, Liz Prince was almost militantly anti-girly. You can’t blame her. As a tomboy, she’s slightly more accepted by boys, boys have the better toys, and, to young eyes, boys have the better lot in life. Why would anyone want to *make* her be a girl? The beauty of Liz Prince’s narrative is, even as we understand her point of view, we can see where there are definite flaws in her young self’s reasoning. Prince fumbles toward a more balanced view of others and herself in a realistic way. There is no epiphany; no Oprah “ah-ha” moment. Being a tomboy is an ongoing negotiation with the world. For a fellow tomboy, this is a book that let’s you know that you’re not alone. For everyone else, it’s a great insight into a different point of view.

I owned (and maybe still own) a collection of essays about tomboy-ness that I never finished reading. The editor of that collection seemed to have decided that there were two kinds of tomboys: girls who grew out of it at puberty, and girls who are tomboys because of sexual orientation (i.e. they’re gay). Neither of these theories fit me and that was distressing. Liz Prince’s life experience doesn’t fit me either, but her version of being a tomboy is more familiar. I like dresses and cute shoes (only comfortable ones), but I don’t wear make-up or own a single pink article of clothing. I’ve always liked boys (even as friends!) and equally liked “boy” stuff like science fiction and action movies. I’ve never cared if that bothers anyone, but I do realize that my point of view is very different from most women.

Publisher: Zest Books
Publication date: September 2nd 2014
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir