By Shira Spector. Published by Fantagraphics.
Hardcover, 216 pages, Colour, 2021.
Self-described as "an infertile, high-femme, low income, non-biological Jewish mom, dyke drama queen, and ectopic pregnancy survivor," the author tells her story in this formally innovative graphic memoir.
Shira Spector literally paints a vivid portrait of the most eventful 10 years of her life, encompassing her tenacious struggle to get pregnant, the emotional turmoil of her father's cancer diagnosis and eventual death, and her recollections of past relationships with her parents and her partner. Set in a kaleidoscope of Montreal and Toronto, Red Rock Baby Candy unfolds as one of the most formally inventive comics in the history of the medium. It begins in subtle, tonal shades of black ink, introduces color slowly over the next 50 pages until it explodes into a glorious full color palette. The irreverent characters begin to bloom and to live life fully, resurrecting the dead in order to map the geography among infertility, sexuality, choice, and mortality. The drawing is visceral, symbolic, and naturalistic. The visual storytelling eschews traditional comics panels in favor of a series of unique page compositions that convey both a stream of consciousness and the tactile reality of life, both the subjective impressions of the author at each moment of her life and the objective series of events that shape her narrative. It is the most formally revolutionary visual storytelling since Emil Ferris's My Favorite Thing is Monsters.
"Using lithesome, intricate drawings and mixed-media collages, Spector debuts with a graphic memoir of desire and loss that expresses emotions viscerally and with a tactile immediacy." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"There are so many styles, so many layers to both the art and the story. Open it up to any page and you're met with an explosion of color, images, and words." — Book Riot
"Every page of this formally inventive, kaleidoscopic graphic memoir is a work of art in and of itself. ... [A] book that will change the literary landscape in 2021." — O The Oprah Magazine
"Shira Spector's deeply moving graphic memoir is about love and sorrow, and the wondrousness of being alive despite everything. The inventive combination of text and drawing works perfectly to draw the reader in." — Roz Chast, Can't We talk About Something More Pleasant?
"Shira Spector has created an ecstatic book about a life lived deeply, fully, and with the extreme bravery we must all have if we want to truly love and be loved." — Eleanor Davis, How To Be Happy