cover image Dear Sophie, Love Sophie: A Graphic Memoir in Diaries, Letters, and Lists

Dear Sophie, Love Sophie: A Graphic Memoir in Diaries, Letters, and Lists

Sophie Lucido Johnson. HarperOne, $21.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-304070-0

Johnson (Many Love) returns to the memoir genre with a cute setup that juxtaposes her adolescent diary entries with responses from her adult self. In sections organized by theme rather than by chronology, Johnson engages with relationships and sexuality, disordered eating and body positivity, Weird Al, self harm, and sisterhood. Part comics memoir, part self-help, Johnson assures Young Sophie that she’s “proud of both of [them]” for doing what they needed to survive, but ultimately concludes that “it’s time... to stop looking back” and live in the present moment. The whimsical character drawings (with stylized red triangle noses) and curlicue font recall Lucy Knisley, but the handwritten diary entries are cramped. Adult Sophie can verge into an overly teacherly tone, such as where she diagrams the LGBTQIA+ initialism. Still, the more elaborately drawn and personal sections land well, among them the rocky river against which Sophie explains her own sexual orientation. Comics memoir fans looking for shapely narrative may find it didactic, but readers eager to embrace self-reflection as an exercise, even if awkward in sections, can find inspiration in resonant messages of self-love and healing. Not all readers will have the patience to stick with the soliloquizing. Agent: Mackenzie Brady Watson, Stuart Krichevsky Agency (Mar.)