BOOKLIST reviews JULIE DOUCET'S My Most Secret Desire

“Booklist Review - My Most Secret Desire” / Booklist / Gordon Flagg / February 15, 2006

Doucet returns after a five-year absence in a collection of 1988-95 dream-journal stories that, often sexual, generally grotesque, aren't for the fainthearted. In them, she contends with such outlandish situations as having all her teeth fall out, coming home to find her cat bisected by guillotine, being injected with drugs by a sinister friend, and repeatedly giving birth to catlike creatures. Several involve her not-unwilling transformation into a man (in one, however, she has last-panel regrets: "Ooh-What if I miss my vagina?"). Others, such as one in which she's driven insane by her job in a copy shop, are more mundane. All display constant, underlying anxiety coupled with postfeminist insouciance. Doucet's panels, drawn in a rubbery yet dense style, are packed with loopy, off-kilter detail, and the dialogue, delivered in slightly skewed, French-inflected English, adds improbable charm. Unlike most autobiographical comics, Doucet's don't give any sense of what the artist is "really" like. Yet her feisty, resilient dreamself comes vividly to life.

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