So, what is a Tomboy? Liz’s dictionary describes it as a noun, a girl of boyish behavior but Liz believes it goes way beyond that. Being a tomboy herself, thirteen-year-old Liz feels it goes beyond clothing, hair, and sports because being a tomboy is a lifestyle that she has chosen on her own. From a young age, she has struggled with being a tomboy and inside this graphic novel, she addresses being a tomboy and what it was like. This is Liz Prince’s graphic novel memoir. I really enjoyed this book and I wish I would throw it into the hands of every teen I come in contact with because I feel it has some great messages inside it and the author’s tone and language is direct, engaging and entertaining. The drawback I see with this novel is throughout the novel, there are instances where swear words are used and the author also touches on some issues of puberty that some readers might not feel comfortable reading. For mature YA readers though, this material shouldn’t be an issue.
I found myself relating to Liz a lot while I read this novel. At a young age, she began to feel she was a tomboy. She preferred hanging out with the boys, she liked playing with guy toys, she like play-fighting with the boys and wearing boy’s clothing over anything to do with the girls. It seemed that the girls had only one mode, they liked to look pretty and stay clean. As a child, I remember playing with the neighbor boys, we’d play cowboys and Indians, I used to buy the Johnny West action figures (oh, I loved that Cherokee Indian doll and the horse!) and we’d load them up in the Barbie van and send them down the crashing down the street. I hated dresses (only wearing them to church) and I’d ditch them to wear culottes, shorts or even jeans. Such a rebel.
Liz is bullied repeatedly for such trivial things being a tomboy and it really surprised me. Even as she moves to different states and schools, the taunting continues and becomes harsh. Liz wants to belong to both worlds, male and female yet her peers have such a closed view of the world, they cannot let her in. Throughout her school years, she finally finds a few individuals who are accepting of who she is, just when I was beginning to lose hope. I knew these friendships might not last as friendships come and friendships go, as she makes her way through school. Thankfully with Liz’s sarcasm, I found myself laughing numerous times as I read this novel too. Her dry humor, the way she finds herself in different situations and how she desperately doesn’t want to become a girl, had me laughing over and over again. Liz acted like a girl yet she wanted to do boy things too but no one would accept her like this. I thought this novel had great flow and I thought the black and white illustrations were great. Again, this novel has great messages throughout its pages dealing with friendships, tolerance and acceptance just to name a few. I highly recommend it.
I need to quote this, it’s perfect and it’s Liz, “…..I was mortified by how this new burden of womanhood further set me back from my goal of being “one of the boys.” 1. Boys don’t have to carry around embarrassing feminine hygiene products. 2. Boys don’t have to buy embarrassing feminine hygiene products (Liz is staring at Super Long, Heavy Flow, Banana Boats, Fresh Ones, Plug It! with Tampons,) 3. Boys don’t have to worry about changing embarrassing feminine hygiene products in public restroom. 4. Boys don’t have to worry about bleeding through their pants.” Just one of the stages of womanhood that Liz embarks upon. (sorry it was so long)