Fine: A Comic About Gender

by Rhea Ewing

Paperback, 2022




Liveright (2022), 336 pages


"Graphic artist Rhea Ewing celebrates the incredible diversity of experiences within the transgender community with this vibrant and revealing debut. For fans of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Meg-John Barker's Queer, Fine is an essential graphic memoir about the intricacies of gender identity and expression. As Rhea Ewing neared college graduation in 2012, they became consumed by the question: What is gender? This obsession sparked a quest in their quiet Midwest town, where they anxiously approached both friends and strangers for interviews to turn into comics. A decade later, their project has exploded into a fantastical and informative portrait of a surprisingly vast community spread across the country. Questions such as How do you identify? invited deep and honest accounts of adolescence, taking hormones, changing pronouns-and how these experiences can differ depending on culture, race, and religion. Amidst beautifully rendered scenes emerges Ewing's own visceral story growing up in rural Kentucky, grappling with their identity as a teenager, and ultimately finding themself through art-and by creating something this very fine"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member villemezbrown
I'll admit that I'm still playing catch-up when it comes to understanding the dynamic world of gender identity that exists outside my little heteronormative and cisgender shell, so I welcome the insights and experiences offered up by the author and the dozens of people they interviewed for this
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very personal look at issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. It took me longer to get through than the average graphic novel, but I always found myself reluctant to stop and eager to return.

So many problems stem from the constructions of masculinity and femininity we've built as a society over time and the use of a language where the desire to ignore and hurt that which is outside the binary is inherent and only just starting to change.

It's a shame that in addition to all the outside pressures faced, there is internecine strife that can also be damaging, especially since the search for a community where one feels accepted and safe is a recurring theme, one that is pretty universal to humanity regardless of gender.

A picayune observation: In a book where every panel seems to be an original illustration, I noticed that the same drawing of the high-heeled shoe of ultimate femininity repeats on pages 76, 243, and 293. I point this out merely to justify the amount of time I spent compulsively combing the book for its previous appearances to verify I wasn't imagining things once it struck me as familiar on its third showing.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
I really enjoyed this compilation of thoughts on the subject of gender -- not only is it powerful as a documentation of interviews and experience, but it covers a vast array of topics that are both adjacent to and integral to expressing gender identity in the US. There is just so much to think
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about here -- from personal stories to big topics of privilege and race and housing and poverty to unexpected biases and acceptances that all combine to make gender a complicated topic. I loved that Rhea felt comfortable sharing their own story -- it pulls the book together beautifully. They have a compassionate and inclusive heart and it shows in what they choose to share and how they look for hope in the future. I think this is a strong and thought-provoking work. It's also a very well done graphic novel.

Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss.
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LibraryThing member reader1009
*reviewed from uncorrected egalley*

nonfiction-conversations with different people from across the gender spectrum, from interviews with 56 people as well as the author's own experiences in figuring out their own genderqueer identity.

content warnings: "Gender dysphoria, transphobia, racism, ableism,
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and body-image issues are discussed throughout the book. Drug use, sex work, and suicidal ideation are mentioned briefly in some stories. There is one depiction of a suicide attempt...that may be especially challenging to some readers."

YES! Ok, this is exactly what the world needs more of. I thought at first as I was downloading it, that this might be kind of long, but as I read, and kept reading, and kept reading, all of it was so good and everybody was providing really thoughtful and valid information. So glad this exists; I hope many people find this book and get to read it.
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LibraryThing member JanesList
This is a book I'm looking forward to sharing with family and friends. The author conducted interviews with a wide variety of people about topics of gender, presentation, healthcare, housing, bathrooms, community, etc. As someone who sometimes has trouble distinguishing different characters in
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graphic novels, I appreciated the author's artistic skill in making different people look different, and true to themselves. This book is well collected, well crafted, and overall can open up a lot of topics related to gender that someone might not have thought about before, or might have questions about.
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