PEN on Blame This on the Boogie

“Blame This on the Boogie Excerpt” / PEN America / Whitney Taylor / December 20, 2018

Rina Ayuyang’s Blame This on the Boogie, published by Drawn and Quarterly, is a love story to her family, her Filipino-American heritage, and her obsession with dancing and musicals. This memoir’s strength lies in its vibrant sketchy illustration and flowy, at times frenzied formatting, as well as Ayuyang’s knack for humorous conversations about the minutiae of life. There is a tension that exists between Ayuyang’s dreams and what daily life brings. Her childhood devotion to a campy slice of Americana flourishes while she struggles to find her place as the youngest of an immigrant family growing up in Pittsburg. Later in the book, she is challenged with balancing early motherhood and a career in comics. Despite the demands put on her from family, school, and work throughout, she carves out a space for her love of dance, cultivates it, and invites others in. Yes, there is chaos, frustration, and longing in Ayuyang’s work, but there is also the tremendous joy that results from the little and unexpected moments that can grow out of them.

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