Portland Mercury | Alison Hallett | February 20, 2013
Susceptible one of Portland Mercury’s “Comics Worth Reading”
THE DEBUT graphic novel from Quebec-born comics artist Geneviève Castrée has the look and feel of an autobiographical comic, though it's not marketed or presented as such. The book feels so personal, though, that it's hard to believe it's fictional.
The story follows a girl named Goglu from childhood to adulthood in Quebec. She's mostly raised by her mother, and by a borderline-abusive stepfather; her elusive birth father disappears and reappears. (He lives in British Columbia, which is "like a mythical kingdom where dads go to disappear.") Her young mom is a heavy drinker who likes to party on weekends, and some of the book's most profound and uncomfortable moments are of a mother's recklessness filtered through the perception of a tiny child.
It's a slim volume, but Castrée's tiny cursive lettering means it takes a surprisingly long time to decipher each page—also she's prone to drawing speech bubbles that crowd and jostle, approximating a jumble of voices talking at once. As absorbing as it is, though, it should be longer—Goglu's childhood is more fully realized and more enlightening than her teen years, which speed by in a blur of drugs, boys, and ever-increasing family strife.