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Book: The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For

July 27, 2010

When in doubt, listen to your sweetie.

Sweetie: “What’s this? Hey, I know the author.”

Me: “I read a review. It said it was good. I’ve never heard of it before. Or the author.”

Sweetie: “I never got what all the fuss was about. And I didn’t really like her.”

Me: “Well, I thought I would check it out.”

Sweetie: “Don’t waste your time.”

Well, she didn’t really say that, but I should have listened to the subtext anyway.


Not for me. Not my cup of tea. I get why it’s important (sort of), and I can see why a lot of people would really love it (I guess), but I didn’t.

I didn’t read the whole thing. Once I figured out what it was about (hey! Lesbians are people too! And they get all up in arms about political stuff!), I just wanted to see if it even came close to Strangers in Paradise, which I can say, it does not. It’s a totally different thing. Maybe some people would like DTWOF better. I didn’t. What I loved about SIP was that instead of tattooing “I’m a lesbian, deal with it” on its forearm, it was a story about love, and how that love can develop between people, no matter what their outsides are like, no matter what the church or your parents or your fiancee wants for you, no matter what you want to call it, no matter what you call yourself. I guess I identify more with that story.

The women in DTWOF were real, and funny, and smart, and mopey, and all that stuff. All good, real, stuff. But waaaaaaay too talky, waaaaaaay too political, and frankly a little boring. I guess since I didn’t feel like the characters in the comic were a reflection of myself, I wasn’t very interested. Call me shallow. I’ll take the sweeping love story between Katchoo and Francine any day, no matter what label you want to put on it.

I’m really not into labels. Maybe that’s part of it. To me, I’m a person in love with a person (a very sweet, smart, funny and adorable person). And that’s that. For some people, there’s more to it. A whole identity thing, a whole thing. I’m just me. In love with Terri. Good enough for me.

But really, if you haven’t read SIP, go do that. Now. Even if you are the straightest of straight, you’ll love it.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 8:10 am

    Great review…for both books.

    I will skip one and check out the other.

  2. July 27, 2010 11:06 am

    OK – I’ll look for Strangers in Paradise. And, just to clarify? the slim book that I read was not too political, actually ‘light’ (for its assumed controversial subject matter) and I don’t think it had the ‘story’ that the ESSENTiALs book built up to be. So it was just short little clips, really.
    Great review. I like comparisons and if-you-want-___- then-read-____ kind of recommendations. Thanks!

  3. July 27, 2010 11:10 am

    Dani: well, you should definitely check out SIP. Whether or not you like DTWOF would be your own call! But I stand firmly by SIP as an amazing story and work of art.

    Care: Please do! I would love to read your review. SIP is a serial and totally worth reading the entire story — plus it’s completely compelling and addictive.

    Thanks for the clarification; I have a feeling that I wouldn’t mind reading DTWOF in a newspaper every now and again, or maybe a lighter themed book, but this Essential collection was a bit much for me.

  4. Adrienne permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:33 pm

    i have nothing to say other than that i agree 100% about both. i tried DTWOF and got lost after a few angry pages. and SIP? well, SIP is truly in a league of its own on so many different levels. =]

  5. trapunto permalink
    July 27, 2010 5:10 pm

    I loved Fun Home but yes, talky. Sometimes it made me a bit embarrassed for her.

  6. July 27, 2010 6:08 pm

    Adrienne: agreed!!

    Trapunto: I was interested enough to consider going on to read Fun Home, but yeah, the talkiness kind of got to me. I was like, blah blah blah, get to the point already!

  7. July 28, 2010 6:59 pm

    Shallow? I don’t think you are. I’m all about living and letting live. Whatever goes. I’ll check out SIP because I’m hunting around for a good summer read. I just finished “Henry’s Sisters” by Cathy Lamb. Loved it. A little tragic, but some good food for thought.

  8. July 29, 2010 7:17 am

    i really want to read strangers. ive seen it here and there but i want to read the whole series at once, which i havent found yet.

    This one though, ill avoid. for me, my sexuality is just one very small part of who i am. (jay might say too small. ha!) so when someone, a book, a character, a tv show, etc..defines themseves mainly by their sexuality, i become….maybe not turned off, but just disinterested because i cant relate. Honestly, even just the title of this book feels like its screaming at me.

  9. July 29, 2010 7:29 am

    also, i kept thinking i had heard this chicks name before but couldnt place it, so i googled her. Fun Home was on my to read list for many years but i could never find it in florida. (what a shock.) i still really want to read it, i think its more coming of age-y, which is a genre i LOOOVE.

  10. July 29, 2010 8:26 am

    Jodi: Oh, I would love to know how you liked Strangers In Paradise!! It’s a pretty great story.

    Tammie: You will completely love it. I wonder if you can get the big collected thing at the library? Or maybe used on ebay or something? totally worth reading start to finish. Yeah, I agree — although I’m 100% for people expressing themselves and their sexuality (or whatever), and certainly I can see how this collection really resonated for some people, it just didn’t do it for me. We used to call this kind of in-your-face focus, “Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a lesbian (Republican, liberal, vegetarian, etc.).” Actually there was just one person we knew in high school who became the model for that. Her name was Tammie, too, but NO REFLECTION upon you. 🙂

    I agree, however, I’d still like to check out Fun Home.

  11. July 31, 2010 1:58 am

    Aw, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like it! I actually LOVED the politics – they were a huge part of what made the book for me. But I can see how I’d feel differently if I weren’t into that. Anyway, I’ll definitely still read Strangers in Paradise.

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