Monday, March 7, 2011

Graphic Novel Monday: REVIEW: A Mess of Everything, by Miss Lasko-Gross

A Mess of Everything, by Miss Lasko-Gross. Published 2009 by Fantagraphics.

A Mess of Everything is Miss Lasko-Gross's follow-up to her 2007 book Escape from Special, a memoir of her middle-school years. Her next book covers early high school as she navigates rebellion, her friends' problems and her own attempts to do the right thing and be herself even when it means being unpopular.

But Melissa is no goody-goody, even if she's a smart, privileged teen from an affluent Massachusetts suburb with liberal politics. She makes mistakes, does the wrong thing as often as the right one, and has to swallow her pride more than once. She struggles with identity, friendship and her relationship with her parents. Particularly troubling is her friend Terry, who seems to have an eating disorder that her own mother is ignoring. In this case, growing up might mean learning to let go and letting her friend make her own mistakes- in other words, admitting that, even though as a child herself, Melissa may not be in a position to help her troubled friend, that doesn't mean the story has to end badly.

I love her storytelling but I also love her edgy and expressive artwork. But it's the story and the characterizations that make this book sing for me. I enjoyed watching her navigate her way through her teen years, with all its melodrama and craziness, and it was rewarding to see how she finds her way and her people in the end. A Mess of Everything is a great read for anyone who's going through or has gone through the mess of teenagerhood and came out okay in the end.

Mess of Everything
by Miss Lasko Gross
I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales.

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.