I’ve looked at graphic novels before, but never really sat down and read one. I figured it’s a very different way of reading. Your eyes have to jump around all over the place, and it’s hard to know what order to read things in. I suppose I like the calm repetition of reading lines across the page.
But when publisher EMET Comics offered me a review copy of Finding Molly, it looked like something I’d enjoy – bookstore, cats, art, and a young woman struggling to find herself. But I worried about accepting a copy when I have no understanding of the genre and no basis for comparison. How can I say if this is a good graphic novel?
My husband convinced me to give it a shot, and I’m really glad I did. I read it in nearly one sitting. My husband says you should always reread a graphic novel because you’ll see things you didn’t notice the first time. So I did that, and enjoyed it even more.
Molly is recently out of college, working (for free) at a local bookstore, and living with her parents. She dreams of becoming an artist but has no money, no space to work, and very little motivation. She has friends who live in a studio and paint every day, and she envies them.
She discovers an unexpected source of income when she posts a picture of her cat to her blog, and a woman offers to pay if she’ll come to her house and draw her cat. This leads to some ridiculously high-paid catsitting gigs, and if she saves her money she might be able to move in with her friends.
Still, Molly struggles with her dependency on her parents, who are supportive but want her to get married and get a job. She struggles with her vision as an artist, and whether she has what it takes. And she struggles with her relationships with her closest friends.
There’s an awful lot to like in this book. I loved the vibrancy of the drawings, and I could appreciate their complexity, from the paintings on Molly’s walls to designs on t-shirts. There’s art within art in this book, and artist Jenn St-Onge uses different looks to convey different times and perspectives (for example, sometimes Molly is remembering so the past has to look different from the present). I also appreciated the diversity in this book, including the occasional use of Spanish. I liked the snarky dialogue and the references to different parts of Los Angeles and the use of technology (selfies and texting and even blogging). And the cats were adorable.
Molly’s a millennial, and maybe I’m not the target age for this book, but it didn’t matter. She has some growing up to do, but the themes in this book are universal. I really liked her – even though she gets a whole lot of things wrong, she keeps trying.
So as I said, I have nothing to compare Finding Molly to, but I liked everything about it and definitely recommend it. Thanks to EMET Comics for providing the review copy and for encouraging this non-graphic novel reader to give it a try.