Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review - Secret Diary (Lou!)


Secret Diary (Lou!)

By: Julien Neel
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: April 2012
ISBN: 978-0761388685
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2012

Dear Mom: "BEGONE! or I'll make you eat your weight in brussels sprouts." Even though Lou's mom was cool, looking in her super secret diary was not, especially since there were things about her in there like she had zero style. Oh, and she was always sitting on the couch gaming and when she got up to cook it was disastrous. Lou and her mom were "super close" because they were a solo act with no father in the picture. In fact Lou had never met him. Mina was her bff and they were super close too.

Lou admitted to her diary that she thought she was gorgeous, but did have "a lot of hang-ups." She was "mega small" and the "Queen of Shyness!" Blech! Lou created her own clothes and all the other girls laughed at her. Like who cares? She'd just confide in her super secret diary and Mina. It wouldn't be long before she'd be running something by Mina. Lou was up on the rooftop with her binoculars spying on Tristan, her crush, when all of a sudden he started to pick his nose ("Dig Dig Excavate"). Mina set her straight claiming, "So you've never picked your nose when you're alone?" Duh...

Mom was too busy gaming and pretending to write her novel to get a crush on anyone, but that would soon end. Lou and Mina would be trying to play matchmaker, introducing her to the new guy in the building, Richard. Lou would whip up an outfit so she'd be the belle of the party. Not. Lou's mom had practically spoiled her chances with Tristan when she'd shown him her baby pictures. "And in this one, Lou's six months old and teething. Poor little thing. You can see what horrible diaper rash she had." WAAAAAH! Love might have been in the air, but would Mom ever get off that couch? Would Lou ever get a chance with Tristan after he'd seen that rash on her you know what?

Many graphic novels I see for this age group skirt around issues as if they feel prepubescent girls and boys should be treated as innocents. One of the most amusing set of panels includes such dolls conversing as Lou and Mina play with them. They suddenly come to a realization that "the magic is gone." Lou knows about things such as divorce, crushes, jealousy in a relationship, and how her own father (whom she never met) skipped town when her mother "took one of those tests." This is Lou's coming of age story...her joy, her angst, her comedic moments, and life with a single parent. As she claims, "I love my life just the way it is." I love this humorous, progressive graphic novel that tells it like it is, least ways for Lou.

Quill says: This is a refreshingly realistic look at a 'tweener,' Lou, and her not so secret life.