GOOD EGGS by Phoebe Potts: Book 20 of 2011 [Wow! It’s Wednesday!] Jun15

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GOOD EGGS by Phoebe Potts: Book 20 of 2011 [Wow! It’s Wednesday!]

When my editors’s former assistant, Maya Ziv, sent me this graphic memoir, I thought it was because the author was a fellow Smithie. But as it turns out we have way more in common than our undergrad college. I’m so glad she passed this along, and only wish that I had read it earlier (as opposed to at my leisure) so that I could have given it way more word of mouth when it first came out. But better late than never. Here are my thoughts:

What’s It About: After taming her crippling depression, Ms. Potts goes on an extremely long and difficult infertility journey.

What Makes It Different: To my knowledge, this is the world’s only graphic novel about infertility struggles.

What I Loved: Like many women who are currently struggling with infertility, reading the stories of other women suffering through the same thing can be endlessly fascinating. This was a page turner for me, and once I started reading, I just couldn’t put it down. I most love that Ms. Potts life doesn’t stop while she’s dealing with this, that is to say that this graphic novel isn’t only about infertility. She also juggles depression issues, her marriage, her family, her lack of career, and her growing religious life. This is in both senses of the word a “graphic” memoir.

What I Didn’t Like: There were a few details that felt a bit vague. For example, Potts and her husband have unexplained fertility issues, which I know happens, but I found myself wondering if age had anything to do with it, especially as the journey stretched on through the years. However, Potts never brings the issue up again. Also, class… Potts references being underpaid, but seems to be quite well off. During her younger years when she’s working non-profit jobs, I wondered whether her parents were supporting her, if she had student loans connected with her two expensive degrees, and all that. And though, I tried not to be jealous, it’s a little hard not to be when you’re paying out of pocket for IVF and the person you’re reading about has all of her procedures covered by insurance. In general, it was a bit weird to read about someone whose overall financial picture never seemed to be impacted by her career decisions or infertility struggles. Again, I know this happens, and I’m not blaming Potts for her reality or untold financial story, but it does make me realize that I would love to hear from the “other side.” A ton of shows are covering IVF these days, but so few of them discuss the financial impact it can have on your life if you’re not totally rich and/or if it’s not totally covered by insurance.

Writing Lessons Learned

1. Characters are wants and needs. This memoir pretty much plots itself because the character has such a strong want. If you’re working on a piece and you have no idea what your character wants and/or needs in this world, make sure to figure it out before you tackle the rewrite.

2. Giving up on your dreams is a great story. One of the things that kind of fascinated me about this memoir is that it pretty much all takes place when Potts is not aggressively pursuing her passion for art. In fact she spends most of the drawn memoir not drawing. As a writer who always considers career the main B story in her own stories, I really enjoyed the mystery of how Potts got from pretty much not drawing at all to writing a graphic memoir.

3. Real Romance. You know what I just adore? When a love interest is not what’s considered mainstream attractive and a writer makes his attractive qualities obvious anyway. Being totally handsome is great and all that, so is being rich. But I think that good love stories are really made when the main character’s spouse has qualities that you don’t necessarily see in every other romance novel. In this case, her husband is a really good teacher, super-duper supportive, and really digs her. This is what I consider real romance.

To Whom Would I Recommend This Graphic Novel: I can’t completely recommend it for women who are just beginning their infertility journeys as it might make your trek that much more difficult and scary. But if you’re on the other side of infertility or years into your journey, then you definitely want to read this.

Click on the book pic to buy GOOD EGGS at Amazon!