Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories

Mari Naomi, Author
MariNaomi. Uncivilized Books/2D Comics, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-941250-01-3
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Award-winning author MariNaomi (Kiss and Tell) returns with this charming and intimate collection of vignettes and meatier personal histories. Most of the pieces appeared on TheRumpus.net and detail the author’s adventures through various life stages from childhood to the present day. The mixed-bag effect of a whole life jumbled together lets the reader get to know the author much faster than in a traditional narrative. Though she was a high school dropout and a teenage runaway, and suffered through explosive relationships and crushing disappointments, she never once falls into self-deprecation. One story shows the depressing transformation of a childhood bully, while quietly backgrounding MariNaomi’s equally dispiriting transformation from a wild, fierce youth to a tamped-down bank teller. “The Rebound” traces a relationship as her boyfriend moves from relentless stalker to jealous baby. Though her art technique varies throughout the book, the best are stark black-and-white images often surrounded by a hefty amount of ominous white space, accurately reflecting the themes of isolation, confusion, and personal difficulty the author has slogged through. The book is utterly absorbing, funny, intimate, and even philosophical. (Sept.)
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