I have been looking forward to the launch of Simone Lia's new book since I picked up a mini sample of it at the Comica Festival last year. It was one of those teasing frustrating things where by you read a few pages then suddenly it stops and you're left wanting more (like at the end of a TV series where you're left on a cliff-hanger and you have to wait patiently to see what happens next...Sherlock being the obvious example : (
Simone is a graphic novelist best known for writing & illustrating Fluffy; a tale of a man and his rabbit Fluffy (who assumes he's not a rabbit but is actually human like his 'dad'). I'm very fussy with books, if my attention isn't held by page two I normally give up. Fluffy on the other hand is the only book that has ever made me cancel all my plans. After reading the first page I sat down and read the whole book in one go. I can't explain the feeling other than reading it just felt so much more important than anything else I could possibly do.Equally I bunked off my boxing class on Tuesday as I just had to be there at the launch day because I was so desperate to know what would become of the heroine! The event took place at Gosh! Comics in Soho, Central London.
When I arrived just after 6.30 the signing was in full swing - I could just about make out Simone in the corner already seated and drawing away.I joined the queue, it looked ok...but after 45 minutes I was still at the bottom of the staircase and was beginning to feel very faint so I decided to go home and read the book instead. (Hopefully Simone can sign it another time!)
So, what exactly is Please God, Find Me a Husband! about? Well the title hits the spot perfectly, it's the tale of a 30 something year old single girl, an autobiographical account of Simone, who suddenly realises she doesn't want to be alone any more. She talks abit more about it in this video, filmed by Gosh!
The story involves adventure (going on a Thelma & Louise style trip)...romance...(finding her own Brad Pitt)
tragedy...(a dear friend being diagnosed with cancer)and comedy...(Jesus playing a game of Operation!)
It took me two days to read and my overall reaction is that I am in complete awe of Simone. It takes an incredibly brave person to share their personal life in such an honest way. She captures some really poignant observations that completely normal, ordinary people think, and go through. Life isn't always exciting, sometimes we get down and other times super enthusiastic about things. Often our focus is directed on completely the wrong thing but we all need to discover that in our way.
One of the most likeable things about graphic novels is the fact you can talk about any subject you want. In Simone's case choosing religion as a key theme is also brave (I sometimes feel like mentioning the 'R' word in this country is completely taboo) and in that respect it's a refreshing and important publication that is well worth exploring. It's also brilliantly illustrated, thoughtful and inspiring. My advice is check it out, next time you're in a bookshop, and be prepared to get hooked : )
Please God, Find Me a Husband! by Simone Lia is published by Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels and is on sale now and costs £14.99.