Arkansas International Reviews Blame This on the Boogie

“Review: Blame This on the Boogie” / Arkansas International / Claire Pincumbe / December 17, 2018

Rina Ayuyang’s graphic memoir, Blame This on the Boogie, reads like a sequence of freestyle dance numbers of her life, chronicling her childhood, motherhood, and career, as well as the ways in which music has propelled her through each. Music and dance rule the world of Rina’s imagination—help her through school boredom and bullying, and live in her adult mind as a place of escapism, obsession, and artistic appreciation. Boogie is a love letter to the style and art of golden age musicals, to football, dance, and family, and an exploration of the ways in which we cope with juggling the thrills and responsibilities of daily life.

Ayuyang’s stunning, bold style leaps off the page and draws you in close, pulling you into the images where you find tiny captions, thoughts, and text hidden on road signs and football jerseys. The bright colored pencil drawings slide from realistic to otherworldly with the grace of a broadway musical changing scenes—at times combining memory with song or football practice with dance number. Reminiscent of concept art for animation, these images thrum with movement and life. Blame This on the Boogie manages to create its own beat, a visual rhythm that sweeps you through to the last page.

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