Book Review – Tomboy

TITLE: Tomboy: A graphic memoir


FORMAT: Graphic Novel



Tomboy is a memoir about a girl who is a Tomboy in every sense of the word.  It talks about how hard it was to grow up as a Tomboy.

…so, I don’t know what to say about this.  A lot of my complaints are with the story itself, and since this is a memoir, it means a lot of my issues are with Liz.  I wasn’t a girly-girl.  I’m quite happy in pants and, since my sisters are both married off, probably don’t need to be in a dress again for years.  So maybe it’s that I’m surprised she had so many issues with being a Tomboy.  I don’t remember anyone ever asking me why I wasn’t wearing a dress.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything to me about my choice of activities – I played many a game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the playground (although I was always relegated to being April O’Neal because no other girls played) – nor do I remember anyone saying anything to anyone I knew about whether or not their hair was “too short” to “be a girl”.

So I’m not sure if this is a difference of experience or a difference of perception.  But there was definitely a difference there. I will say I’m not nearly as Tomboy as the author, though, so there is that.

But with that aside, just taking the story at face value, it was decent enough.  I don’t think that you gain any huge insight into the world by reading it, but it’s a graphic novel, which means you can read it in just a couple hours.

The illustrations are fine.  A huge issue I have was with the lettering, though.  It wasn’t standard comic book writing font, and in a lot of places was really sloppy.  I felt like Liz just threw it together and rushed through that part which, well, is kind of the most important part.

I had a few spots where I was trying harder to translate the handwriting than I was to follow the story, and that’s not okay.

I’ll give the book overall a 3/5.  If you happen across it, go ahead and read it, but don’t go out of your way to look for it.


Book 7/52.

This satisfies the MEMOIR
portion of the challenge.

Book Review – It’s Perfectly Normal



It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley

Hardback, 1994, 2009

So, we’re back to the Banned Books List.  My library actually had an old copy and the new second edition, so I got them both to compare.  The only difference is an added chapter on the Internet and updating medical information and the resource list at the back of the book.  I ended up reading the newer one, for pretty much no specific reason.  They were both sitting there, I grabbed that first.

Anyway, IPN is a 90-ish page hardback book geared towards kids just about to start puberty.  All of the visuals are illustrations, some a little more cartoon-ey than others, but all drawn quite well.

At the very start of the book, we meet (what else?!) a bird and a bee, and they get to interject their comments for most of the book.  (The Bee is a little less willing than the bird, which is sort of odd since the bee is supposed to be male and the bird female, but whatever…)

As we go through the book, we get chapters on just about everything that somebody needs to grow up – puberty, both for boys and girls, growing up, sexual feelings, etc.

The drawings throughout the book include everything from anatomy to – my personal favorite – the page with male and female in all kinds of shapes and sizes and ages and colors.  A couple of the pics my knee-jerk reaction was OMG!, but really, I thought about how I was raised and what I’m doing at my age to feel okay with my body and myself still, and I think that a book like this would have helped so much.

So this is another book that’s on the banned books list because parents don’t want their kids to understand life when they’re at the right age to get that information, and as I’ve said before, that’s just really sad.

So share this book with any of the kids in your life – but do it the right way.  Have the adults read it too, and be grateful for the opportunity it gives for open, honest communications.  5/5 pages.

Book Reviews – What’s Happening to My Body

The What’s Happening To My Body Book For Girls

The What’s Happening To My Body Book For Boys

Lynda Madaras with Area Madaras

Illustrations by Simon Sullivan

Paperback 2007


Furthering the “let’s see why these books are banned” challenge, we have the What’s Happening to My Body? books.

These books are written by a woman (with the help of her daughter) who actually teaches sexual education classes for parents and children to attend together.  These are better than any school health book, better written and easier to understand, and just as thorough.  If not more so.

The only reason these books can possibly be banned is because parents are too stupid/closeted/religious/closed minded/whatever to let their children actually understand their own bodies.  Remember, this is basically an ENCYCLOPEDIA and it lists what homosexuality is and what masturbation is (and actually says “many people do and many people don’t – it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you” and lists religion as a reason to or not to…) and because of *that* these are some of the most banned books ever.  Seriously?

That aside…these are well written, thoroughly explained, and not at all uncomfortable and creepy like our elementary school health/science classes were.

I consider it a public school fail that I learned things from these books at my age (I’m 30!), and I will buy one for each of my future children because the information in these books is Important, and the addition of text blocks from questions and experiences brought up in her classes really add to the books.


As far as rating these books, I guess there’s a niche somewhere where you wouldn’t need to know about your body (maybe if you’re 80 and don’t know anything yet it’s too late?) but for everyone else, these are a must read, and for people going into puberty, a must have.  5/5

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