Top positive review
If American comics were like this...
on April 17, 2013
...the audience would literally double. Because here, without pandering or indulging in cliche, is the kind of graphic novel female readers would flock to in droves. Assuming, of course, such a thing existed in American comics and was actually marketed in such a manner that the female audience was allowed to become aware of its existence.
A wonderful combination of prose and top-flight cartooning, Tamara Drewe is a story full of flawed, yet intriguing characters whose foibles actually make them more interesting. The titular character is herself more of a catalyst in the story than she is a protagonist, an approach which keeps Tamara at a distance from the reader: we are as curious and fascinated by this woman as the characters in the story whose lives are changed by her very presence (indirectly in some cases, more directly in others). It's a romance story, or rather, the story of a number of overlapping romances, but more importantly, it's a story about identity, and the exploration of same. How do we define ourselves? How do others affect that definition? How much does our concern about how others define us actually impair our ability to define ourselves in the first place? It's heady stuff, yet handled in such a light, breezy manner as to take the reader by surprise; you won't be thinking about the larger theme of the piece until you're done...the narrative itself is that compelling.
Elegantly drawn and flawlessly written, Tamara Drewe reminds us what a tragedy it is that both the US and UK comics markets let "comics for girls" die off decades ago, yet offers an encouraging template for a potential return of the form. Top marks.