20 January 2014

Bullet Review: Underwire by Jennifer Hayden

Underwire by Jennifer HaydenNot all books written in graphic form are geared to a young audience or involve characters with superpowers. Over the years, I've read and enjoyed several graphic memoirs, so when I came across Jennifer Hayden's Underwire at my library, I thought I'd give it a try.

Underwire is a collection of thirty short autobiographical stories written in comic-strip form. Many of the pieces first appeared as part of Hayden's involvement with the ACT-I-VATE collective, which is a Brooklyn-based group of graphic artist and writers. Since the publication of Underwire, she's been working on other webcomics and a graphic memoir about her experiences with breast cancer.

  • What are the stories about? Hayden writes about everyday life: being a woman, a mother, and a wife; about marriage, family, and friendship. Sometimes Hayden tells us about life before kids or shares a dream or nightmare she's had. Don't expect crazy dysfunction; Hayden seems to have a decent marriage and a normal relationship with her kids. Do expect to nod in agreement and laugh along with her as she muddles her way through her many roles.
  • Underwire (c) by Jennifer Hayden, p. 1Stories I liked: My two favorites were a one-page story about Hayden and her husband celebrating their wedding anniversary and a longer story about when Hayden and her husband visit their alma mater, kids in tow.
  • General thoughts: As in any collection, there are stronger stories and weaker stories. I didn't love every piece in Underwire, but I did come away with an overall positive feeling, and Hayden had me chuckling or laughing in several places. The book may have a more direct appeal to baby boomers than to younger woman, but most adults will readily relate.
  • The artwork: The scan (click to enlarge) is from the first page of the book and gives you a good idea of Hayden's style and the general tone of the book. Hayden is quite good at conveying facial expressions and action, and I like her asides and footnotes. All the panels are done in pen and black ink.
Published by Top Shelf Productions, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781603090766
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


(Diane) bookchickdi 1/20/14, 7:17 AM  

I don't know too many graphic novels aimed at this demographic, it sounds intriguing.

bermudaonion 1/20/14, 8:09 AM  

I have a feeling I'd like that one too!

Daryl 1/20/14, 9:01 AM  

i am still on the fence about graphic novels and i am not a lover of short stories i always feel cheated, i know .. insane

but you chose well, that was a funny relatable 'story'


JoAnn 1/20/14, 9:06 AM  

I usually read one or two graphic novels/memoirs each year, but just realized I don't have any on my 2013 list. Will keep an eye out for this one.

grammajudyb 1/20/14, 10:02 AM  

I have only had one experience at reading a graphic novel and it was BAD. I did not realize that there was a different kind of graphic novel. I may check my library. Thanks for sharing.

Heather 1/20/14, 10:34 AM  

This sounds fantastic. I will have to get my hands on this one. I love graphic novels anyway, but I especially love the biographical ones!

Kailana 1/20/14, 11:55 AM  

I definitely need to break my library ban and get some graphic novels.

Amanda 1/20/14, 1:55 PM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who reads comics that are not based around super heros!

Vasilly 1/20/14, 6:36 PM  

I see it's your turn to add a graphic memoir to my tbr list! ;-)

Becca 1/20/14, 7:58 PM  

I really love graphic novels that are not comics or manga. They have a lot of good ones about various cultures that I have liked. The author might be talking about some things like marriage and children that I don't identify with but it still looks like it could be an interesting quick read.

rhapsodyinbooks 1/21/14, 7:46 AM  

The artwork looks very appealing - I am checking for this one at our library!

Alice Audrey 1/21/14, 4:07 PM  

I've tried to describe what it was about the 60's that made such a difference in our culture to my kids. They don't get it.

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