Just saw Alison Bechtel at San Francisco’s Booksmith Height Street. (What a neighborhood to remind us of the 60’s and the “flower children” we once were.) It was a crowd of all ages and orientations and the store actually felt warm and inviting with the energy of the crowd coming from folks that wanted connecting. This is what Alison does for us. She helps us connect with her experiences of family and allows us to appreciate the truth in what we have lived, rather than the illusions of our defense.
As she tells the story of her mother, she answers the title’s real question, who am I? Her wavering sense of self is displayed and we understand what it’s like to be with her mother and how that relationship helped form her.
As a graphic art memoir, she brings a whole new audience to reading books and shows her talent through text and drawing. She is remarkably talented and a boon to outsiders everywhere. A lesbian who shows who she is and asks us to share with her.
Reading her form from a memoir editor’s eye, I see she plays with time as associated memories, it shows one of the many ways we can approach our own story. She shows us that just as our experiences are unique so can our approach to the retelling be done in our own way.