A Child’s Life by Phoebe Gloeckner

A Child’s Life
by Phoebe Gloeckner
Frog, Ltd., 2000

Harrowing, to put it mildly. Gloeckner’s mother appears to have had rotten taste in men, and this book is made up of a number barely-fictionalized accounts of the abuse she suffered from her controlling stepfather as a child, and the twisted “relationship” she had as a young teenager with a later boyfriend of her mother’s. The clear, precise artwork (Gloeckner also works as a medical illustrator) makes her tale of survival even more brutal.

The unsparing sexual content (including the famous Minnie’s 3rd Love) ensures that this is one of the rare graphic novels in Central Library to be Kept At Desk, although I remember freely reading some of the stories in the Twisted Sisters compilations of the mid-nineties. There’s an incredibly creepy introduction by Robert Crumb which would be an odd thing to include, except it matches exactly the tone of the rest of the book and reinforces that Gloeckner has sure had some rotten luck.

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