In this memoir manga, Pesayuma-san goes through their beginnings of being a manga artist, reflecting on their childhood, and grappling with their gender and sexuality. In their second job in the manga industry, Pesayuma was sexually assaulted and objectified by a male coworker, and the trauma from this incident left them emotionally scarred and vulnerable for seven years. After finding a new editor in a post Me-Too world, Pesayuma discovers that they could take legal action against their aggressor, but also that their story could be publishable. They reflect on some fundamental people from their childhood and moments that were formative in their life as they journey towards self-discovery.
This personal story is heartbreaking and emotional. I was particularly struck by how much of the sexual harassment and objectification of women’s bodies is the same in Japan as it is in the United States. Pesayuma-san poignantly analyzes how women’s bodies are freely commented on, like someone shopping for veggies in a store, and this analogy hit home for me. This series might be best for older teens and adults who are looking for some perspective, or commiseration. There are a few moments of narrative jumps that were a little difficult to follow, and I didn’t think the inside-look into the publishing and making of this manga series was totally necessary. They seemed out of sync with Pesayuma’s exploration of their past and coping with their trauma.
This book obviously deals with sexual assault and trauma, but Pesayuma's drawings are very cartoony and don't have a lot of detail. There is some reflection on an objectification situation from their childhood where they are naked in the shower with another young boy, but Pesayuma draws them as outlines.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 12-Adult
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: June 20, 2023
ISBN: 9781974738847 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: Adult, Suitability: High School, Manga, Memoir, Autobiography, LGBTQ+, VIZ Media
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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