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Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir

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Overview

When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice.

Packed cover-to-cover with heartfelt and ...

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Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir

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Overview

When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice.

Packed cover-to-cover with heartfelt and disarming black-and-white illustrations, Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source. Part coming-of-age and part coming-out story, Calling Dr. Laura marks the arrival of an exciting and winning new voice in graphic literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The title of this twee but engaging graphic memoir overstates the role of the famous radio psychologist, who makes a mere cameo. The book is really about the author’s struggle with her secretive family and the mystery of her father’s identity. As a child, Nicole believed her father had died when she was very young. Father figures remained elusive throughout her formative years. After relocating to Portland, Ore., in her 20s, Nicole receives a palm reading as a birthday gift. The results convince her that her biological father is still alive, and she is driven to seek the truth from her fractious relatives. Amid all of this, Nicole juggles difficult romantic relationships with her decision to keep the fact that she is gay from the very same mother from whom she seeks the truth. Georges’s naïve line art and sometimes labored visual storytelling is balanced by humor and incisive characterizations. However, this ambitious family narrative could have used a stronger editorial eye. Despite her story being too long, the author approaches it with the tenacity of a detective. Among other factors—including clever asides and several terrific jokes—a deeply affecting epilogue makes Georges’s tale well worth the telling. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Honest and charming...[Georges] makes her debut as a developed and skilled storyteller ."
-Philadelphia Inquirer

"A charmer."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A bracing debut from a promising graphic novelist that deals with abuse, forgiveness, and family secrets."
-Daily Beast

"There's a depth to Georges' work...an intense interest in finding out not just who she is but what it means and why it matters."
-Oregonian

A "tart, honest graphic memoir."
-Slate

"A tragicomic graphic memoir with a stunning indie aesthetic ."
-Bookslut

“An engrossing, lovable, smart and ultimately poignant trip through a harrowing emotional bottleneck in family life.  It's great art, great writing, a great story – I can't wait for what's next from Nicole. What a wonderful book.”
-Rachel Maddow

"Engaging...incisive ...The author approaches [her story] with the tenacity of a detective."
-Publishers Weekly

"Nicole Georges spins a riveting family mystery . There's a powerful chemistry going on between her delicate drawings and the probing honesty of her investigations. CALLING DR. LAURA is disarming and haunting, hip and sweet, all at once ."
-Alison Bechdel

"I wouldn't want to live in a world without Nicole! And now no one has to! This book is a charming little gem. An honest glimpse into the life of a self-employed, smart and witty Portland femme gay with an upbringing so weird it's normal."
-Beth Ditto

"Anyone who knows Portland, OR. will know Nicole J. Georges, the witty girl with the cat glasses and a devoted following for her talents as an illustrator and zinester . . . Whatever the results, one can bet that this new work from Georges will be a good time."
-Lambda Literary, "Five New Queer Voices to Watch Out For"

 

Library Journal
03/01/2014
Georges's family is fraught with secrecy. When a psychic informs her that her father isn't really dead, as her family has told her, she uncovers more family secrets—and is understandably hesitant to reveal her own secret to her mother. Georges's quirky drawings bring to life her difficult relationship with her secretive mother, her musician girlfriend, and an amusing gang of dogs.
Kirkus Reviews
A meandering graphic memoir by a young cartoonist who seems to have most of her story ahead of her. The pivotal points of the narrative come nearly 200 pages apart. Early on, Georges (Invincible Summer 2, 2008, etc.) writes about a visit to a palm reader who tells her that the father she's never known, who she's been told by her mother is dead, is in fact alive. The second arrives with the title incident toward the end, after the author has found out little about her father except for the fact that he likely is alive. She makes a call to Dr. Laura on how to handle her Christmas visit with the mother she no longer trusts. There's also some subtext to this--not shared with Dr. Laura--that the author is a closeted lesbian, and her mother became estranged from an older daughter when she came out. That sister has also provided the author with testimony that her father (the younger sister's; the older sisters have a different father) is alive. The narrative lacks focus and command, skipping all over the place chronologically as well as geographically, as the author addresses her not-very-dramatic relationships with girlfriends, her series of stepfathers and would-be father figures and her reluctance to address her sexuality with her mother (much to the annoyance of her live-in lover). There are lots of animals as well, mostly dogs, but a pet chicken, too. The narrative builds to the phone call with Dr. Laura, who has been barely mentioned through the preceding 190 pages, and whose cut-to-the-chase advice is curt, cold and not very helpful. "I cut my losses and moved forward," writes Georges, in what seems to be the end of the prologue for the life to come. And then comes the epilogue, in which she (kind of) solves the mystery of her father. The mostly engaging tone and humor can't compensate for a lack of substance and continuity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547615592
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 394,804
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicole J. Georges is an e-zine publisher, illustrator, and pet-portrait artist who teaches self-publishing and autobiographical-comic workshops. She has contributed illustrations to a number of publications, including Bitch and Herbivore.

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