Review: 'Good Riddance: An Illustrated Memoir of Divorce'

Good Riddance: An Illustrated Memoir of Divorce

Writer/artist: Cynthia Copeland

Abrams ComicArts, $17.95, color, 224 pages

I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't even finish it.

This is a good book, maybe an important one. It's the story of Cynthia Copeland -- married 18 years, three kids, idyllic suburban life -- discovering that her husband is cheating on her. And getting divorced. And being a single Mom. And trying to date again. Plus all the metaphysical stuff.

It's a true story, and Copeland is enormously brave to put all her confusion and pain on the page, and courageous in turning it into humor. Those of us who have never been though this can laugh (while wondering on the inside if it could happen to us), while for those who have been through this it could be an instructional manual -- or a lifeline.

Cynthia Copeland is the author of several humor books on parenting, including The Diaper Diaries, Fun on the Run and Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me. That experience comes in handy here, as she coats pain in humor and makes it easier to swallow.

But -- and you know there was a but -- Copeland should have hired an artist. Her sketchy cartooning has neither the range nor the professionalism to tell this story. I got about halfway through the book before I tired of seeing the same Cathy swipes for the 50th time. This isn't cartooning; it's doodling.

Which is a shame. Those more invested in story than art -- which is most folks, I assume -- may gloss over the amateurish and superfluous pictures and focus on the words. But for comics fans, who value art at least as much as story, it's likely to be borderline unreadable. It was for me.

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