The Girl Who Flew Away: A Look at Class, Race, and Youth Culture in the ’70s
The Girl Who Flew Away, a graphic novel-in-progress by M. Dean, is a lush and fascinating story that spans decades, set against the backdrop of the beautiful but alien Key West, Florida.
Greer Johnson, a directionless secretary in 1976, has become pregnant by her boss. Desperate to keep her condition a secret, he exiles her to live with his wealthy older friends in Key West, the Benders. Isolated, sad, and longing for deeper connections, Greer is subject to the passive aggression and manipulation of her hosts. She retreats often into memory, and through her we see the complex tapestry of political, economic, and racial tensions that so deeply affected the youth of the ’60s and ’70s. Greer’s only sources of solace are the Benders’ Cuban gardener, Pablo, and a strange but sweet little girl from the 1920s that Greer dreams about.
The Girl Who Flew Away is nothing short of gorgeous. Through beautiful visuals and subtle but evocative dialogue it thoroughly communicates not only Greer’s unhappiness, but the deeper alienation of young people growing up during the Vietnam War. Greer is witness to many social and personal injustices, all the while battling her own regrets and emotional turmoil brought on by the direction her life has taken.