Why Don't You Love Me?
Why Don't You Love Me?
By Paul B. Rainey. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Hardcover, 224 pages, B&W, 2023.
A couple struggles through their unhappy marriage in this dark science-fiction comedy
Claire and Mark are in the doldrums of an unhappy marriage. She doesn’t get out of her bathrobe and chain-smokes while slumped on the couch. Mark has lost track of the days and can’t get the kids to school on time. They’ve lost interest in family and order-in pizza and chinese food every night. Mark sleeps on the couch and has trouble remembering his son’s name. He feels like a fraud at work but somehow succeeds. Claire stalks an ex-boyfriend. How could he have left her to this life?
Claire and Mark are both plagued by the idea that this is all a dream. Didn’t they have different lives? When reports of an imminent nuclear war come on the radio, the truth begins to dawn on them: this is not the life they chose.
Why Don’t You Love Me? is a pitch-black comedy about marriage, alcoholism, depression, and mourning lost opportunities. Paul B. Rainey has created a hilariously terrifying alternate reality where confusion and pain might lead people to make bad choices but also eventually freedom…maybe.
“When I began to read Why Don’t You Love Me? I thought it read like any number of slightly surrealistic slightly vapid early-2000s stories that were basically the cartoonist’s way of telling you they hated everyone and everything. And then it came into focus and it wasn’t that thing at all. And then it came into focus again, uplifting and heartbreaking and (a word that I use sparingly) relevant. The kind of story leading to a last panel that’s all pain and joy and delivers the whole thing. What a masterwork. To understand all is to forgive all.”—Neil Gaiman
"What a clever and uncompromising comic Paul B. Rainey has created."—Rachel Cooke, The Guardian
"Claire and Mark are living in the quiet resignation of their crumbling marriage — rendered in Rainey’s clean, sparse lines — when the announcement of an imminent nuclear war spurs them to urgently reimagine their lives."—New York Times
"Rainey’s cramped and cluttered visual style is the perfect complement to a strange domestic tale of social order breaking down into isolation and chaos."—Toronto Star
"A remarkable graphic novel, which balances pathos, cruelty, realism and science fiction in an astonishing way."—The Comics Journal
"[A] sly dark comedy with an eerie sci-fi twist... This one’s for curious indie-comics readers who enjoy being surprised."—Publishers Weekly
"The first must-read graphic novel of 2023... Rainey is a seasoned cartoonist, and this book feels like — again, as Gaiman points out — a true masterwork, the carefully considered opus of someone who has spent years working within the medium and wants to push what it’s capable of."—Comics Beat
"Rainey may be working in the comics form, but he leaves readers with the impression that they've just consumed a full-blown novel set in an adrift couple's world(s)."—Shelf Awareness
"[Why Don't You Love Me? is a] story about relationships, the pressures of child rearing, and the unexpected disruptions of internal and external forces in our topsy turvy lives."—Graphic Medicine
"Rainey has fashioned a startling narrative that speaks strangely to recent pandemic experiences of isolation and parenting young children... [The] mysteries of love, the unpredictability of the world and the promise of redemption are all at play."—The Tyee
"Why Don't You Love Me? imagines a relatable scenario turning on the everyday fears of many readers, and provides us an opportunity to consider the choices we've made, while still allowing us to... have a much-needed laugh."—ComicBook.Com
"There’s a fascinating story here about the nature of identity and the role that chance plays in our relationships."—Geek Dads