From Publishers Weekly
Harrison's Spilling Open, the market phenom first published by a small press and then picked up by Villard, attracted young women in droves and was the subject of a USA Today cover story. The highly photogenic 25-year-old Canadian-born author/artist's next move was a retreat to Italy, armed with the paintbrushes, scissors, glue and pencils demanded by her montage art, to better reckon with the sudden external pressure. The result is part visual journal, part travelogue, part self-help guide and part feminist manifesto in a form reprising Spilling Open's collagist aesthetic and ethos. In it, Harrison speaks a self-questioning language most young adults will recognize immediately, whether they are famous or not: "Sometimes I feel isolated even more because readers may think that now because I am published... the aches... the questions... and the doubts must vanish... not so quickly" is sprawled across the second piece, in a childlike hand, which switches freely between lower case and capital letters, cursive and print. Comprising nearly 200 colorful collages, many incorporating writing, the book takes the art-therapy style espoused by SARK (Eat Mangoes Naked) and many others to further heights of art and catharsis, and ranges from mundanities ("The wrinkled balled-up black skirt just isn't pulling it off. It's better than shorts and a fanny pack for me though. No extra butt bulk!") to commentary (on tourists: "gripping onto their man's hand, him always leading the way, so much snapping pictures for proof what kind of proof? I don't believe in traveling this way") to mournful introspection. . (On-sale: Aug. 14)Forecast: Expect big sales among Gen-Y lipstick-feminist postslackers, denizens of the 11 cities Harrison plans to tour. Adults who were captivated by Griffin & Sabine may find this reality-based chronicle similarly compelling signaling a possible breakout, and certainly revived sales for Spilling Over.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Written in her teens, Harrison's first book, Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself
(2000), was a published journal of stylish, sometimes witty collages and simple text in the tradition of Peter Beard. Personal, immediate, and filled with common angst, Harrison's creation earned her a large following of like-minded teens and young women. Her latest follows a similar formula. The text is a catalog of yearning, hope, and insecurities resembling song lyrics, written a few sentences per image. Overwhelmed by the impact of publishing, she travels to Italy, has adventures ("Zipping along the Riviera on a motorcycle in a bikini singing U2 songs out loud"), and returns home resolved to hang on to her newfound confidence. The art is the book's most interesting aspect. But the direct text will attract young advantaged women, who, in struggling with a similar multitude of options, will appreciate Harrison's personal charge: "What do I have to see? Where do I have to go? Learn that." Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved