Liz Prince’s graphic novel Tomboy is a poignant yet witty recollection of the trials and tribulations of one young woman’s struggles against traditional feminine stereotypes.
Readers meet the narrator as she’s about to enter middle school. Liz is a tomboy through and through, yet her guy friends don’t want to hang out with her any more. To make matters worse, her female friends are more interested in joining a cheerleading squad and swapping makeup tips than they are in playing video games with poor Liz. As the years pass and our heroine enters high school, Liz struggles with being an outsider and winds up joining a volunteer project where she starts learning about Feminism and girl culture, which ultimately helps her boost her self-esteem.
While geared towards a young adult audience, adult readers who remember all too well what it was like to be bullied as a teenager will laugh and cry at Prince’s work, because her experiences are universal. Important issues, such as gender identity and bullying in schools are not glossed over, but instead are discussed with honesty and a careful eye. Prince also includes funny anecdotes from her own childhood to drive a point home. Any reader who was dubbed “the weird kid” growing up will get a huge kick out of her memoirs.
Whether you’re a teenager in high school or an adult who still bares the emotional scars from being bullied, Tomboy is a wonderful reminder that it’s okay to be yourself, even if it means defying cultural norms in order to do so.