an endearing look back
calling dr. laura
Calling Dr. Laura, by Nicole J. Georges; Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Available in Trade Paperback (2013)
Nicole Georges’ award winning graphic novel Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of her discovery that her family had lied to her about her father’s death — he had left when she was very small, rather than dying of cancer. Actually, this one-line description is a little misleading. It would be more accurate to say that it tells the story of the time in her life when she discovered this: there is also a band, new love, heartbreak, chickens, and the call to talk-radio legend Dr. Laura Schlessinger from which the book derives its title — and much of that is only tangentially related to her quest for the truth about her family life.
Illustrated in the time honoured, slightly abstracted black and white of alternative comics everywhere, the style switches deftly between her adulthood in Portland and a simpler, more elemental mode illustrating her childhood and the issues she faced with her abusive stepfather.
As the story progresses she begins to blend the two in a quite compelling way. Georges’ strength as a storyteller is her basic generosity of spirit — much of her story is actually quite sad, but her style is never self-pitying. She is blunt and honest, but never revels in harsh portrayals of the people who undermined her.
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