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BEA ARC: Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits

September 23, 2015

This graphic novel is a good one to suggest for women who’ve never tried a graphic novel before. It’s a quick read, funny at times, sad at times, and a memoir to boot. (For those who have problems wrapping their heads around “comics aren’t just for kids.”)

Jennifer Hayden is like any other young girl past puberty: worried about how her body defines her. In her case, it’s a lack of breasts. A late bloomer, Jennifer takes a long time to come to terms with the beauty of her body, meanwhile living a life where she’s the only one letting breast size define her. Meanwhile, her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, her dad has a mistress, life always moves forward, and finally, at 43, she finds herself repeating history with a breast cancer diagnosis of her very own.

This book covers a huge chunk of Hayden’s life, from her teen years to middle age, and yet it moves smoothly along. There are times when her breasts take a backseat to life: that magical time in life where you’ve accepted your body as it is, only to have it continue to change on you and keep you forever off-balance. The art is consistent–not beautiful, not the best–and Hayden, like most memoir writers, is another privileged person obsessed with themselves and their past and their past enough for an eyeroll or two. There’s also religious epiphany at the end but I thought it was extra interesting because, unlike most American narratives, it’s not about Christianity.

The Story of My Tits is a good read, and I enjoyed it. As I get older, I’m looking for more narratives that include older women and women’s health experiences, so while this isn’t my usual teen-and/or-superhero fare, I’m glad I picked it up, both at BEA and once it was here in my home.

Disclosure: I received a free copy at this book at BookExpo America 2015. This has no bearing on the honesty of the review. See more about my feelings on ARCs and galleys on my About page.

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