Graphic Novel from Nicole J. Georges, About Her Dog | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 5, 2017

starred review starGeorges, Nicole J. Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home; A Graphic Memoir. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780544577831. pap. $17.95. GRAPHIC MEMOIR
Lambda Award–winning author/artist Georges’s (Calling Dr. Laura) prickly, moving account of growing up with a misbehaving mutt begins near the end of the duo’s time together. The author is hosting a Quinceañera for Beija, a shar-pei/corgi mix with issues, when the dog lunges at two children, one a toddler. This latest eruption sends Georges and Beija to the basement to reflect on their history. A 15-year-old Georges had rescued Beija in a misbegotten attempt to heal her boyfriend’s childhood traumas. That didn’t go as planned, nor did several tries to find the dog another home, so Beija becomes the author’s one constant, sticking with her through car wrecks and college evasions, a move from the suburbs to a Portland, OR, punk flophouse, and the transition from dating boys to dating girls. One sees the influence of Lynda Barry in chapters about the artist’s life as a “feral child,” drawn differently than those featuring teen/adult “Georges.” A West Coast vibe infuses her quest to rehabilitate her bad dog, with visits to a pet psychic, nods to Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, and a stint working at an animal refuge. When Georges finds a lump while bathing Beija, the inevitable final act is touchingly, beautifully conveyed.
Verdict Part grief memoir, part coming-of-age story, part feminist manifesto, this well-written, splendidly illustrated title would be a good YA crossover. It will stir the hearts of misunderstood riot grrrls, owners of unruly canines, and LGBTQ readers.—Liz French, Library Journal

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