The first loves of the French-Canadian animator’s friends are the focus of this collection of 10 amusing graphic vignettes from 5 to 14 pages long. Each story begins with a half- or full-figure drawing of the woman with an animal head and her name. The women’s coming-out anecdotes, told through a spread of anthropomorphic drawings, range from childhood crushes to long-term heartbreak to the realization of queerness. Themes of religion, rejection, and childhood experimentation recur frequently.
While many queer women will relate to at least one women’s story in this collection, it becomes repetitive towards the end. The simply-told, matter-of-fact tales stories are accompanied by whimsical, but equally simple black and white drawings. The lack of clear organization of story themes or time period makes it hard to decipher one character from the next. The repetitiveness may appeal to readers who feel “different” in their environments and need to see a common experience.
Regardless of these problems, On Loving Women would fit well with any public or academic libraries’ graphic collection. The book is accessible to adult readers and those curious about adult graphic stories. The differences and common threads in the realization of same-sex attraction could also make a good book club read or discussion group.
Anna Fidgeon, Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian
California State University, Northridge