By Lizzy Stewart. Published by Fantagraphics.
Hardcover, 168 pages, Colour, 2021.
This poignant coming-of-age story follows several young women on their circuitous paths to adulthood.
A young girl imagines a grand future for herself, far from the drab British suburbs. Two friends, once inseparable, find their connection gradually slipping away. Three women discuss how life in the big city makes them feel seen — or invisible. In a series of interconnected vignettes, It's Not What You Thought It Would Be explores the circuitous paths lives can take and the changes in perspective gained along the way.
In a series of interconnected vignettes, Stewart focuses on the ordinary, slice-of-life moments — teenagers climbing up and lounging on a rooftop, friends catching up over pints at the pub, a woman riding the night bus home — and charges these scenes with a quiet intensity. Through keen observation and an ear for naturalistic dialogue, she reveals the complex natures of her characters, from their confidence to their insecurities, as they experience the joys and pains of growing up. Drawn in a variety of different styles, from watercolor to colored pencil to pen and ink, the style of this book echoes the evolution of the characters within.
"Mournful, lovely ... Stewart's dynamic, warm, flowing art invites the reader in." — The New York Times
"This brilliant debut collection of gorgeous, clever short stories explores the intensity of teenage ennui and female friendship, with a deft feel for its slights and tensions." — The Guardian
"From black-and-white sketches to full-color drawings, Stewart's stories are linked by feelings of uncertainty and acceptance as friends and strangers alike confront the many ways in which expectations rarely match up with reality." — The Paris Review
"Enjoyable, relatable comics about the perplexing process of growing up." — Booklist
"The soft lines and muted colors or monochrome of Stewart's art subtly heightens the emotionality. There's a quiet but powerful immediacy to this that will appeal to lit fic fans who may not always pick up comics." — Publishers Weekly