Tillie Walden is one to watch!
A little uneven in structure, but this first long-form graphic novel by Walden really got my attention. It's the story of Walden growing up heavily involved in figure skating, even though she mostly hates it, and her experience coming to realize she's a lesbian. The art is so lovely, and Walden is definitely one to watch, having completed this at age 21 - whaaaa? If you're at all interested in young women's lives, queer fiction, coming of age stories, figure skating, or emerging talents in comics, seriously consider giving this a try.
Content warning: sexual assault.
The catching cover of this graphic novel immediately grasped my attention, and I knew from that moment I would get a good read and out of this book. I loved the graphics, each square was nicely thought out, and everything was visually very pleasing, but the real good part was discription of the sensation on ice. I don't figure skate, but I could literally imagine the feeling of doing spins and jumps on ice, which was pretty cool.
Great artwork, and interesting theme, but I have to agree with the other commenters in that it's a pretty surface skim of her adolescent years and some of the themes could have been examined more. Mind you, it did make me think of being alone in a cold arena, so it was successful in that sense.
I picked this up because it had been a while since I read a graphic novel, and I was curious as to what secrets it held--I figured it wouldn't just be about figure skating! Like lots of graphic novels, the format belies a serious storyline: Tillie is a teen coping with some really difficult issues, and having to make some big decisions. It's a quick read and the illustrations carry a lot of momentum. Anyone who participated in sports as a teen may be able to relate to this book, and I'd definitely recommend it to others who like to read graphic novels.
I think the author is very talented for someone so young and I will definitely keep reading her work. This book was great, I enjoyed it, however like many of the other three star reviews, I was left wanting much more. All these really momentous and sometimes awful things that occurred were presented more as a timeline of events with little exploration beyond the surface of the event happening. Walden is courageous to share these details of her life with us, I just wanted more. Also the author portrays her mother as essentially absent parent and when she does interact with her mother her mother is cruel and cold. Then in the acknowledgements she thanks her mother?! I'm not saying that reconciliation etc can't happen, but her mother is never given any redemption in the gn, but now they are okay? I have soooo many questions!!
Unnecessary vulgar language. This author lacks class and maturity.
While it's an incredible feat for an author to publish her fourth book at age 21, there's a lack of insight in a memoir that tries to touch upon multiple themes without allowing them to flourish. The art is quite good throughout, but the pacing is lacking, speeding through moments that needed more time.
What would fix this is more insight and reflection, and that needs time.
Publishing this young is impressive, but I do believe that better works will come when one is more experienced in their field.
Tillie is a figure skater. Her life is dominated by early mornings, group dynamics with both girls and moms, and finding a place in the new skating culture when she moves to Texas at age 12. Tillie isn't happy with skating, with school, with her family life, with being closeted. There's a lot for her to overcome and accept (or not accept as being any form of her fault) and skating is the nexus of it all.
The coming of age story and the art reminds me a lot of This One Summer but that's where the exact similarities end. It's a familiar story in the fact that the reader can relate and you have read versions of this before but it's still a journey worth taking.
The art is gorgeous and I am impressed that the author is so young - only 21! This book had an interesting mix of subject matter (lesbian author, competitive ice skating) and had a melancholy, mellow mood which I enjoyed. I felt like a lot of it was surface-level though and even the really monumental life experiences are rarely explored with much detail. I wish there had been a little bit more introspection.
sands7447 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
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