A Captivating Coming-of-Age Graphic Memoir by a Portland ‘Zine Icon
By Nicole J. Georges
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.95, 260 pages
What if everything you believed about your family was revealed to be a lie? That’s what happens to Nicole on her 23rd birthday, when she visits a psychic who insists her father – whom she believes died of colon cancer decades ago – is in fact alive. What ensues is Nicole’s haunting story of finding the truth about her father and making peace with the relationships in her life. Calling Dr. Laura is the debut graphic memoir from Portland ’zine icon Nicole J. Georges, in which she shares her own coming-of-age story in her striking, signature comic style with a poignancy that is both heartbreaking and sweet.
It’s hard not to root for Nicole from page one. Her life working as a karaoke jockey with her motley gang of dogs and chickens exudes charm. As Nicole struggles to cope with her dysfunctional family and her own identity, it is impossible not to empathize with her – even as she dials the number to Dr. Laura’s infamous radio talk show to find clarity and a way to move forward. While the ending can feel a bit open-ended, the book’s honesty about relationships rings true. Calling Dr. Laura is a telling account of how deception and lies in relationships can harm those we love the most, and this book is a must-read for anyone who has had to figure out the truth for themselves, loves the Portland ’zine scene or simply appreciates the beauty of a well-crafted graphic novel.
Reviewed by Kristin Leigh