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Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir

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This exquisite graphic novel memoir by a transgender artist, explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself. Framed with a candid autobiographical narrative, this book gives us the opportunity to enter into the author's daily life and explore her thoughts on themes of This exquisite graphic novel memoir by a transgender artist, explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself. Framed with a candid autobiographical narrative, this book gives us the opportunity to enter into the author's daily life and explore her thoughts on themes of gender and sexuality, memory and urbanism, love and loss.


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This exquisite graphic novel memoir by a transgender artist, explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself. Framed with a candid autobiographical narrative, this book gives us the opportunity to enter into the author's daily life and explore her thoughts on themes of This exquisite graphic novel memoir by a transgender artist, explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself. Framed with a candid autobiographical narrative, this book gives us the opportunity to enter into the author's daily life and explore her thoughts on themes of gender and sexuality, memory and urbanism, love and loss.

30 review for Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Review to come - I also read Apsara Engine by this author earlier this year, and that was all the stars, loved it so much - this is a little more staid, about the artist's life as she sees it. Review to come - I also read Apsara Engine by this author earlier this year, and that was all the stars, loved it so much - this is a little more staid, about the artist's life as she sees it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    In an intellectually interesting exercise, a transgender woman makes a roman à clef graphic diary wherein she portrays herself as a cis-gender woman. Unfortunately, she then spends most of the book writing about a time when she isolated herself to work on her first graphic novel and way, way, way too many panels are spent describing what she food she is eating for lunch and which wine she is drinking with it. And then joking about how much wine she is drinking, and then drinking more wine, and m In an intellectually interesting exercise, a transgender woman makes a roman à clef graphic diary wherein she portrays herself as a cis-gender woman. Unfortunately, she then spends most of the book writing about a time when she isolated herself to work on her first graphic novel and way, way, way too many panels are spent describing what she food she is eating for lunch and which wine she is drinking with it. And then joking about how much wine she is drinking, and then drinking more wine, and more wine, and more wine. So, I'm worried about her unresolved drinking problem, but found myself too bored to care about much else. It didn't help that the lettering is atrociously stylized and rather than being able to read sentences, I found myself reading each individual word, pausing frequently to second-guess my first interpretation. Tedious.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    Bishakh Som discovers the power and potential in creating an alter-ego who both is, and is not, the self in this gorgeously drawn almost-memoir. Using the character of Anjali, Som writes about an international childhood spent in Ethiopia, India, and New York City. She writes of the death of her parents and the gutsy decision to quit a dull, safe job to pursue an uncertain creative dream. We, the readers, are the benefactors of this leap into the unknown. Along the way she also begins to further Bishakh Som discovers the power and potential in creating an alter-ego who both is, and is not, the self in this gorgeously drawn almost-memoir. Using the character of Anjali, Som writes about an international childhood spent in Ethiopia, India, and New York City. She writes of the death of her parents and the gutsy decision to quit a dull, safe job to pursue an uncertain creative dream. We, the readers, are the benefactors of this leap into the unknown. Along the way she also begins to further explore her own queerness and gender identity. How fortunate that Anjuli, and Som, chose comics! (Thank you to the publisher, Street Noise Books, for letting me read an advanced reader copy of this book.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Points for a very macro concept of taking us through her life as she would see herself, not how everyone else perceived her growing up as trans. But I simply cannot get behind the poor font choice that makes it super difficult to read and therefore dive into the words she uses. The graphics are homegrown as an artist which I can appreciate, but others can't because the text is also hard to read. I don't know why I downloaded it because I don't necessarily see this as marketed toward YA, it's an Points for a very macro concept of taking us through her life as she would see herself, not how everyone else perceived her growing up as trans. But I simply cannot get behind the poor font choice that makes it super difficult to read and therefore dive into the words she uses. The graphics are homegrown as an artist which I can appreciate, but others can't because the text is also hard to read. I don't know why I downloaded it because I don't necessarily see this as marketed toward YA, it's an adult memoir that can be read by teens with an interest.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Simant | Flipping Through the Pages

    This graphic memoir by a desi author was a great exploration of identity. Som tells her story of finding herself through a journey of grief and loss. She has created a girl Anjali, to represent her story and the various phases she went through in her life. We get to see her story after she quits her job to work on her graphic novel. Reading about her parents, all the cultural representation, Bengali food..my heart was full. There wasn't any such adventure in the story itself. Unlike most of the gr This graphic memoir by a desi author was a great exploration of identity. Som tells her story of finding herself through a journey of grief and loss. She has created a girl Anjali, to represent her story and the various phases she went through in her life. We get to see her story after she quits her job to work on her graphic novel. Reading about her parents, all the cultural representation, Bengali food..my heart was full. There wasn't any such adventure in the story itself. Unlike most of the graphic novels, this wasn't fast-paced and the stories felt a bit disjointed sometimes. Also did I tell you we have an adorable cat in the story? The biggest complaint I had with this book, however, was the poor font-choice! I don't know why they chose it. It was pretty hard even for my perfectly healthy eyes to read it! I had to pay so much focus and that certainly took away a lot of enjoyment. I wish there was more of the part where she found her identity and transitioned. It felt very sudden. Also, I don't know why it is marketed as YA when it is clearly and Adult memoir?! Overall, not the best collection, but nonetheless an enjoyable one. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Ko-fi |Amazon

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sofia S.

    3.5 stars!!! Thank you to the publisher and edelweiss+ for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own! This was a very sweet graphic memoir I would recommend to anyone wanting a chill read! This definitely isn't a memoir of exciting adventures – nothing much happens, actually – and yet I still found the story interesting and engaging. My favourite part was most definitely following Anjali through the whole process of the making of this graphic novel; as a 3.5 stars!!! Thank you to the publisher and edelweiss+ for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own! This was a very sweet graphic memoir I would recommend to anyone wanting a chill read! This definitely isn't a memoir of exciting adventures – nothing much happens, actually – and yet I still found the story interesting and engaging. My favourite part was most definitely following Anjali through the whole process of the making of this graphic novel; as a close second, learning more about Indian culture was something I found very interesting and loved as well! Also, the cat is adorable and I love him to death. The drawing style wasn't my favorite, and I found the writing a liiiiittle hard to read every once in a while, but this in no way made me love this any less. In the end, this was a very enjoyable read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Masterful, personable, engaging, touching, fascinating. I may have enjoyed this memoir even more than the collection of the author's fictional work that also came out this year.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Martinez Figueroa

    A great exploration of identity through grief and loss, not just of family members but of gender and sexuality. Som speaks on the distance one does in order to figure out identity through art, even as everything changes, and the ways that there are certain expectations we put on ourselves and that others put on us. It was a touching memoir that in the beginning tells you is written as through a fictional lens, again as a way to create distance between artist and art, until the line blurs togethe A great exploration of identity through grief and loss, not just of family members but of gender and sexuality. Som speaks on the distance one does in order to figure out identity through art, even as everything changes, and the ways that there are certain expectations we put on ourselves and that others put on us. It was a touching memoir that in the beginning tells you is written as through a fictional lens, again as a way to create distance between artist and art, until the line blurs together. Thanks to Edelweiss and Street Noise Books for the ARC! The paperback is out on August 25th, 2020.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Decker

    *I received this book as an eARC from Street Noise Books via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* This graphic novel memoir is excellent. This book is part journal, part memoir, part fictionalized retelling. The framing tools used are done so well. The storytelling gets super meta in such an endearing and personal way. The pages are heavy on the text, but not in a bad way. This isn't a fast read. The stories can be disjoi *I received this book as an eARC from Street Noise Books via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* This graphic novel memoir is excellent. This book is part journal, part memoir, part fictionalized retelling. The framing tools used are done so well. The storytelling gets super meta in such an endearing and personal way. The pages are heavy on the text, but not in a bad way. This isn't a fast read. The stories can be disjointed, but it follows a natural conversational flow. I give this book a 5/5. I have never read a comic like this. I love the story. And the way there are multiple levels to the storytelling.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mia E

    As the book went on the short stories seemed to flow better, but at the beginning it just felt like it was jumping from on to another randomly. I liked the art and it was overall a good story that got better as you read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Review copy: Digital ARC via Edelweiss I appreciated this memoir. It was compelling and we definitely need more books by trans authors. I found the text/font to be a tad tiny for my older eyes. It was listed for YA, but it read more like an adult title. It would certainly be appealing to some older YA readers, but it was from an adult perspective looking back so it seems more for older readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Matview

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  15. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ginnyrants

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tina M Kopilchack

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jawanne Jesse

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Rice-Evans

  21. 5 out of 5

    ArchaeoLibraryologist

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  23. 5 out of 5

    Li Sian

  24. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valeria Righele

  26. 5 out of 5

    Animated Summary

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karla Strand

  28. 4 out of 5

    Owen Reid

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kahraman Batuk

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