Friday 30 November 2018

ReadItDaddy's Adult / YA Comic of the Week - Week Ending 30th November 2018: "The Mental Load" by Emma (Seven Stories Publishing)

We'll kick off our "Adult / YA comic of the Week" review with a simple "not for kids" warning - though this is something that most of us will be absolutely dying to share with them once they're a bit older
Emma is a french comic creator and all-round graphic novel genius, and of course hailing from the country that currently puts out some of the best comics and picture books on the planets, you may have high expectations...

"Mental Load" meets those expectations and then some. It's an absolutely brilliant - nay essential collection of feminist comic strips that highlight the sort of utter bullshit that women have to put up with on a daily basis, but does so with a good, realistic and sometimes dark sense of humour.

So many mums who follow this blog will instantly nod and identify with the core message that Emma's collective strips have. This is a solid acknowledgement of all the amazing stuff women do on a daily basis, are often taken for granted for, and rarely receive any form of recognition for.

The main reason for our YA / Adult advisory on this one is mostly because the book deals with relationships and childbirth in quite a lot of detail, though it feels like the sort of book you'd buy for yourself and keep around until your sons and daughters are old enough to relate to most of the content within.

Emma's main focus is to chronicle the unsung heroes of the home, women who don't make a colossal fuss over every little blocked drain or daily chore, who often take the lead when it comes to bringing up the kids (and don't expect a round of applause every time they 'babysit' either).

Most importantly, the strips have an underlying current that shows just how much women have to do in order to maintain the status quo, quite often in relationships with spouses or family members who seem completely like dependent children themselves.

Each and every scenario or strip could kick off a huge number of debates around their core subjects, but it's been fantastic to take a look at something that gives all of us hope that perhaps there's a change in the wind, and the days of the patriarchy are numbered. It's extremely thought-provoking stuff, almost delving into conspiracy theory on certain subjects, but Emma's point of view on subjects as tricky as post natal depression and medical practices around childbirth really should be digested and debated more widely for sure.

Damned sharp, clever stuff that doesn't pull any punches. Reviewing this made me feel a bit sick in places, not because of the content but because as a man you'll recognise a lot of the utter bullshit behaviour your fellow male colleagues are capable of, and think is acceptable on a daily basis. Ugh.

You can find more of Emma's wisdom and her brilliant strips over on her blog

"The Mental Load" by Emma is out now, published by Seven Stories Press (kindly supplied for review).