I don’t have very much time for reading what with balancing work, school, and the rest of life, so lately I have turned to graphic novels to stimulate my love of the printed word. This has led to me finally reading Saga by Brian Vaughn, reacquainting myself with childhood (and local) favorite Bloom County, and of course the Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner which is the subject of this particular blog post.
I will grant that I am a little tardy to the party on this book as it originally came out back in 2002, but it was recently adapted into a film directed by Marielle Heller starring Bel Powley in the titular role, but also Kristin Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard. Besides being excited for the movie because it was playing at Iowa City’s own FilmScene, the director of the movie AND the author of the book were interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. Being the library worker such that I am I figured I must read the book first.
I was quite glad that I did as I found it to be one of the most honest portrayals of life as a teenage girl just as the title suggests. It was painfully honest even. Warning to those that maybe more sensitive than others: this book is pretty scandalous on every front. Language, sex, drugs are all present along with a healthy dose of what is often termed “age inappropriate content”. Another of Gloeckner’s graphic novels, A Child’s Life and Other Stories, was banned from the public library in Stockton, CA in fact. However in belated celebration of banned books week I recommend checking out the Diary of a Teenage Girl. It is truly an unforgettable read!
As to the visual content, this book really is more of a novel than a graphic novel, but what art there is reminds the reader of one of Gloeckner’s big influences, R. Crumb.