Definitely not for children. This collection of autobiographical comic strips is a Rabelaisian vision of sex and food and pain and romance and family dysfunction and body image.
Aline Kominsky-Crumb’s collection of strips offer a raw, messy take on a raw, messy life. There’s an energy and an openness to her cartooning and her storytelling, and while her line work is often crude it’s also full of life.
Whether you really want to be exposed to that life depends on your tolerance for extreme candour. Kominsky-Crumb’s accounts of growing up Jewish on Long Island, her bohemian hippy days in San Francisco’s Bay Area and domestic life with her husband Robert Crumb in California and the south of France is the opposite of coy.
But as Hillary Chute, quoting the Huffington Post, points out, much of this chimes with the humour you can find in TV shows such as Girls and Fleabag, which are not afraid of portraying women as difficult, as sexual, as complex.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that Kominsky-Crumb was doing this decades before. As Chute points out, “in the 1970s it was rare for a woman to put herself – the good, the bad and the ugly – at the centre of stories the way Kominsky-Crumb did.”
Which makes the cartoonist both a pioneer and someone whose time, perhaps, has come.