Graphic Novels feature Paula Knight on “The Facts of Life” | Xpress Reviews

Week ending March 17, 2017

Knight, Paula. The Facts of Life. Pennsylvania State Univ. (Graphic Medicine). Mar. 2017. 240p. bibliog. ISBN 9780271078465. pap. $24.95. MEMOIR
factsoflife031717Titles in the “Graphic Medicine” series have a reputation for featuring unique, if slightly rough-edged, content that touches on medical themes. This debut memoir from children’s author Knight (It Takes Two To T’wit T’woo) is an excellent example—a three-part account that feels slightly unfinished. Knight’s youth in the 1970s is effortlessly relatable, speckled with questions of sex, relationships, and self-discovery. Adulthood brings struggles with chronic pain and subfertility. As multiple pregnancies end in miscarriage, the author details her encounters with the British health-care system and her soul-searching about pursuing in vitro fertilization, which for her is likely to be invasive and unsuccessful. In the last act, she philosophizes on the societal, political, and personal implications of a life without children, emphasizing the negative aspects of “pronatalism.” Knight’s ambivalence about becoming a parent while balancing that desire with other aspects of her identity is fresh and astutely reported, but the final section is a bit disappointing.
Verdict Graphic memoirs thrive on candid and open storytelling, and Knight seems a bit quick to close the book. This emotionally honest and personal look into reproductive challenges, unfortunately, takes an awkward turn toward manifesto in its concluding arc.—Emilia Packard, Austin, TX

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind