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Part of It: Comics and Confessions

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Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are—when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are—when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best friends, former friends, prom dates, girlfriends, sex ed students, and far too many LensCrafters sales associates. These frank, irreverent, and honest comics revel in the uncomfortable—occasionally cringe-inducing—moments from our early years that end up wiring us as people. Part of It further cements Ariel Schrag as “one of the best pure storytellers...in any medium” (Comics Journal).


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Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are—when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are—when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best friends, former friends, prom dates, girlfriends, sex ed students, and far too many LensCrafters sales associates. These frank, irreverent, and honest comics revel in the uncomfortable—occasionally cringe-inducing—moments from our early years that end up wiring us as people. Part of It further cements Ariel Schrag as “one of the best pure storytellers...in any medium” (Comics Journal).

30 review for Part of It: Comics and Confessions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I first read Schrag's high school comic books about twenty years ago, and I remember thinking at the time that they were raw and awkward but showed potential. Not having seen much from her in the interim, I was interested in seeing what she would be doing now that she has matured. I was disappointed to see that the random stories and vignettes presented here did not seem that much different in art or writing. They're OK, I guess, and the after-school program strips at least manage to break Schra I first read Schrag's high school comic books about twenty years ago, and I remember thinking at the time that they were raw and awkward but showed potential. Not having seen much from her in the interim, I was interested in seeing what she would be doing now that she has matured. I was disappointed to see that the random stories and vignettes presented here did not seem that much different in art or writing. They're OK, I guess, and the after-school program strips at least manage to break Schrag out of the self-involvement that dominates the rest of the book. Just wasn't what I was expecting.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    This is a pretty decent collection of Ariel Schrag's autobio comics, mostly from her preteen to teenage years - at least one of them has already appeared in another anthology. Some (one?) of the comics won't make total sense if you aren't familiar with Schrag's previous books (Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise). I realize that I am not a particularly objective judge of Schrag's work, however, since I grew up reading her autobio comics and admiring her frank confessional style (along wi This is a pretty decent collection of Ariel Schrag's autobio comics, mostly from her preteen to teenage years - at least one of them has already appeared in another anthology. Some (one?) of the comics won't make total sense if you aren't familiar with Schrag's previous books (Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise). I realize that I am not a particularly objective judge of Schrag's work, however, since I grew up reading her autobio comics and admiring her frank confessional style (along with being amazed that there were queer women writing and drawing comics) - I do think this is a great collection and it would be a good one to start with if you are daunted by the prospect of reading her lengthier books first. I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    I adore Schrag’s work. This is a decent introduction, but I found myself a little disappointed. A number of the stories stand alone very well as discrete works — especially the one about buying new glasses — but overall this doesn’t hang together as a complete book very well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Templeton

    The need to feel like you belong is a natural part of life, right? This comical graphic memoir explores the many stages of trying to be “part of it”. Spanning a young lifetime full of typical adolescent and teen struggles, as well as young adulthood in the LGBTQ community, this book was a fun yet anxiety enducing exploration. The black and white illustrations are full of minute details that are delightfully intricate.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    Ariel Schrag presents amusing slice-of-life comics in Part of It, although the diverse collection runs very hot and cold. Hot: Schrag's search for new glasses, the stories about running an after-school art class. Cold: basically anything from her teenage years. The art is a similar roller coaster, with the teenage years being a serious rough patch. At the least the early years feature a tale about hippie babysitters - count that one in the hot section too. Ariel Schrag presents amusing slice-of-life comics in Part of It, although the diverse collection runs very hot and cold. Hot: Schrag's search for new glasses, the stories about running an after-school art class. Cold: basically anything from her teenage years. The art is a similar roller coaster, with the teenage years being a serious rough patch. At the least the early years feature a tale about hippie babysitters - count that one in the hot section too.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Part of It: Comics and Confessions by Ariel Schrag cover a twenty year period from her teen to adult years with little vignettes that cover awkward moments in her life. I have seen her comics online for years but never knew exactly who she was and this book helps explain that. I don't care how old you are, if you are an adult, you will relate to these stories and cringe along with Ariel. The artwork is very humorous and goes along with the story quite well. Part of It: Comics and Confessions by Ariel Schrag cover a twenty year period from her teen to adult years with little vignettes that cover awkward moments in her life. I have seen her comics online for years but never knew exactly who she was and this book helps explain that. I don't care how old you are, if you are an adult, you will relate to these stories and cringe along with Ariel. The artwork is very humorous and goes along with the story quite well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Loz

    This was fine. That's about it. This was fine. That's about it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roan

    Talented but not really my thing. I wish this was about her fancy TV-writer life - she’s already written tons about hs and junior high.

  9. 5 out of 5

    TammyJo Eckhart

    Took me only two days to read and explore this book of black and white comics from Ariel Schrag. The 14 "chapters" highlight events and relationships from 1986 to 2006, a 20 year period in author and artist Ariel Schrag's life. Highlights are the proper term because sometimes the stories are self-contained, they feel completed and I felt satisfied if not always happy after reading them. Other "chapters" left more questions and felt too short, too open-ended, leaving me feeling frustrated. That r Took me only two days to read and explore this book of black and white comics from Ariel Schrag. The 14 "chapters" highlight events and relationships from 1986 to 2006, a 20 year period in author and artist Ariel Schrag's life. Highlights are the proper term because sometimes the stories are self-contained, they feel completed and I felt satisfied if not always happy after reading them. Other "chapters" left more questions and felt too short, too open-ended, leaving me feeling frustrated. That reflects life, right? We don't always get the answers or have a sense of an ending but as a reader it wasn't a pleasant feeling. 13 of the 14 "chapters" seem to show a consistent artistic style though details are more spare in many of the pieces discussing younger ages compared to the teen and adult events. One except is "The Truth" with a very different style that was created during Schrag's junior high school year. I do find her current work easier to read and look at but that's a matter of taste not an artistic critique. Every now and again, the style changes a bit, darker backgrounds or less/more detailed backgrounds for instance but that is rare. Because people can be worried about such matters, yes, this book deals with sex and violence (physical and emotional) at times but that is not the main topic of the comics. Fitting in and figuring out who you are and how to be you is the subject and in that sense, regardless of other differences of race, sex, gender, religion, wealth, or sexual orientation, it should be relatable to most of us.

  10. 5 out of 5

    R

    This graphic novel is essentially the memories of the author, with vignettes from their life. Some of the vignettes are stories and graphics she drew back in high school, while others are just memories from her school years and college. Several of them were really funny and I thought, even insightful. One of them is about staying on a houseboat with a friend and not being allowed to use the toilet on board. Another is about the neurosis behind making a decision on eye glasses. Other stories deal This graphic novel is essentially the memories of the author, with vignettes from their life. Some of the vignettes are stories and graphics she drew back in high school, while others are just memories from her school years and college. Several of them were really funny and I thought, even insightful. One of them is about staying on a houseboat with a friend and not being allowed to use the toilet on board. Another is about the neurosis behind making a decision on eye glasses. Other stories deal with LGBTQ relationships and drama, dealt with in humor and reality. Overall, it was not a great read, but I did think some of the stories were really hilarious and cut to the bone of human reactions in a pretty smart way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becky R.

    This graphic novel is essentially the memories of the author, with vignettes from their life. Some of the vignettes are stories and graphics she drew back in high school, while others are just memories from her school years and college. Several of them were really funny and I thought, even insightful. One of them is about staying on a houseboat with a friend and not being allowed to use the toilet on board. Another is about the neurosis behind making a decision on eye glasses. Other stories deal This graphic novel is essentially the memories of the author, with vignettes from their life. Some of the vignettes are stories and graphics she drew back in high school, while others are just memories from her school years and college. Several of them were really funny and I thought, even insightful. One of them is about staying on a houseboat with a friend and not being allowed to use the toilet on board. Another is about the neurosis behind making a decision on eye glasses. Other stories deal with LGBTQ relationships and drama, dealt with in humor and reality. Overall, it was not a great read, but I did think some of the stories were really hilarious and cut to the bone of human reactions in a pretty smart way.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Halle

    ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley in exchange for honest review. I’m not familiar with this author and artist outside of this book. That being said, I enjoy the memoir as graphic novel format, and I liked the author’s childhood stories the best. Some of the text mixed with the illustrations was difficult to read due to its cluttered appearance, so I found myself relying mostly on the artwork for the story’s direction. I think this book is a nice collection of diary entry-lik ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley in exchange for honest review. I’m not familiar with this author and artist outside of this book. That being said, I enjoy the memoir as graphic novel format, and I liked the author’s childhood stories the best. Some of the text mixed with the illustrations was difficult to read due to its cluttered appearance, so I found myself relying mostly on the artwork for the story’s direction. I think this book is a nice collection of diary entry-like illustrations, and I would be interested in exploring the author’s other work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Adam Stone

    This was a fun collection of stories about trying to belong to something when you feel like an outsider. I enjoyed Schrag's humor, as well as the way the story's art evolved from the first to the last page. There's some LGBTQ material, but it's mostly about being human and wanting other people to like you, whether it's in your best interest or not. I recommend it to anyone looking for a confessional memoir-style graphic novel that isn't hopelessly depressing. This was a fun collection of stories about trying to belong to something when you feel like an outsider. I enjoyed Schrag's humor, as well as the way the story's art evolved from the first to the last page. There's some LGBTQ material, but it's mostly about being human and wanting other people to like you, whether it's in your best interest or not. I recommend it to anyone looking for a confessional memoir-style graphic novel that isn't hopelessly depressing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    A fun Schrag collection. I have been meaning to read more of Schrag's ingenious comics since Potential, and this collection was a perfect reminder of why her stuff is brilliant! Fantastic misadventures of teenage and young adulthood with stupid decisions, insightful revelations, and valuable regrets, Schrag paints a picture of growing up, making and losing friends, belonging, being good, being bad, and being queer. Recommended for those who like glasses, dogs, prom dances, and Venice Beach. A fun Schrag collection. I have been meaning to read more of Schrag's ingenious comics since Potential, and this collection was a perfect reminder of why her stuff is brilliant! Fantastic misadventures of teenage and young adulthood with stupid decisions, insightful revelations, and valuable regrets, Schrag paints a picture of growing up, making and losing friends, belonging, being good, being bad, and being queer. Recommended for those who like glasses, dogs, prom dances, and Venice Beach.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    2.5 stars. Meh. Another reviewer mentioned that he remembered enjoying Schrag's comics when she was younger and read this wondering how she had matured as an artist and author. As he notes, she doesn't seem to have developed significantly since then. I think the story about the glasses was probably the strongest piece. 2.5 stars. Meh. Another reviewer mentioned that he remembered enjoying Schrag's comics when she was younger and read this wondering how she had matured as an artist and author. As he notes, she doesn't seem to have developed significantly since then. I think the story about the glasses was probably the strongest piece.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Bookfairs

    I have a summer ARC of this book that is coming out in November so my copy may be unfinished - the book is a series of graphic vinettes from a Berkeley CA childhood (ages 6,10,13,17) to attending & getting into a fight at the gay prom (age 19) trying to find the perfect glasses (age 24) & others. Some of the stories resonated with me & drew me in - others less so.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Thomas

    Like most anthologies, this collection of autobio comics is hit or miss. The best ones were a childhood memory of a hippy babysitter, the struggle of getting good glasses, and a longer one about teaching an afterschool program is Harlem. The art isn't amazing, but it's good enough. Like most anthologies, this collection of autobio comics is hit or miss. The best ones were a childhood memory of a hippy babysitter, the struggle of getting good glasses, and a longer one about teaching an afterschool program is Harlem. The art isn't amazing, but it's good enough.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I liked this a lot but it felt a little lighter than her earlier graphic memoirs. Of course, that could partially be due to the fact that there is nothing more dark and complex than being a teenager. Although, that Lens Crafters saga is real. I’m excited to see what comes next.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Sowinski

    Some of the comics were hit and miss on the relatable scale but the glasses decision story killed me, ooofff.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelleandderek Nakagawa

    It was alright. I mean, it was kinda cute, but not great. It wasn't exactly interesting. It was alright. I mean, it was kinda cute, but not great. It wasn't exactly interesting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    #comic #lgbtqia

  22. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    What feels so horrible about being excluded is the fear of a lack of self. Who are you without other people?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Neha Bhomia

  24. 5 out of 5

    SabirSultan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erik

  26. 4 out of 5

    Morringhan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo

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