The Paris Review publishes an excerpt of I Am Young, NYC illustrator and cartoonist M. Dean’s new collection of comics. The book’s publisher, Fantagraphics, describes I Am Young as being “tied together by one central narrative about two teenagers who meet and fall in love after a Beatles concert in 1964.”
At NPR Books, critic Etelka Lehoczky writes about I Am Young‘s focus on “sentimentality,” which is “practically the only driver of these stories.” From Lehoczky:
The most affecting story in I Am Young isn’t about romantic love, but about friendship. High-school seniors Kennedy and Rhea both dig Tom Jones and want to be novelists someday. Kennedy is “my very good friend,” Rhea declares solemnly. Instead of gossiping about boys, Kennedy and Rhea act out scenes from Hamlet and read Camus. Dean perfectly captures the anxious sense of portent common to brainy teenagers in every decade. The friends’ greatest sources of tension are philosophical: They disagree about whether graduation is a significant milestone, whether Robert Redford is “plain” and whether there are such things as happy endings in life. “Maybe, even if she doesn’t admit it, Kennedy is actually happiest knowing there are no real answers,” Rhea says. The question is as vitally important to her as it is to every teenager with a reflective bent.