Make Me a Woman

Davis, Vanessa

Vanessa Davis is only about ten years younger than me, but reading her memoir comics and sketches I felt like a youth culture voyeur, sort of like I did when I watched the Girls pilot, featuring characters closer to twenty years my junior. Davis was 26-32 when she drew the comics collected here, so maybe my reaction isn't too far-fetched. Anyway, that's not to say that I didn't like her work, not at all! I just felt a little distant from it. Some of the issues, feelings and experiences rang true for me, but as in "I get it," rather than "I feel that."

One of my favorite "I get it" images is of her spraying a pair of naked men from a hose, where on the previous page she expresses rage while emailing with some douchey guy and in another section she wishes "...I had been born a tiger all muscle and stripes and furry and I wouldn't give a fuck about this garbage."

I also got a snicker over a series of sketches of a lunch with her sister that begins "Ariella and I got margaritas to take the edge off seeing each other." That one I get and feel, even if my sister and I don't pre-game our encounters. (Not you, Danna; there's no edge to seeing you!)

The collection of comics and drawings doesn't follow one coherent narrative, which didn't bother me, but if you're looking for something completely linear, drink a margarita before you start the book. Everyone else, I think you'll enjoy seeing Davis's work in more and less polished stages.

Jul 3 2013