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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by…
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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

by Kabi Nagata

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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is about 100% less about being a lesbian than the title may imply, and about 500% more about mental health and depression.

As a first-person account of what led the author to make an appointment with a lesbian escort service, it naturally includes queer content - but her queerness isn't the central story, though it does inform certain things left unsaid or only alluded to. The story is about how the author recognized a need for self-care and self-love, and how difficult those things are when depression is bearing down. Hiring a sex worker is merely one way that she attempts to figure out what she needs to have self-worth.

Because this is a comic and originally in pieces on Pixiv, it does elide quite a lot that may have been included in a solely-text work. There are occasional references to doctors, therapists, etc., which must have played a huge part in the author's recognition of her depression and eating disorder and learning to work with them, but mostly she doesn't acknowledge them as present. The phrases she uses (possibly part of the translation by Jocelyne Allen) are definitely ones that come from modern therapy, though.

On the other hand, the illustrations do show quite a lot and more efficiently than words do. The author admits that she intentionally drew herself in a cute style to be appealing to the reader, and her use of manga illustration shortcuts works well at creating a dark humor that matches the tone of the words - the "this problem sounds absurd, I know, but it's the way it is" that pervades a lot of folks' writing about their depression, anxiety, or whathaveyou.

I think it's great every time I see queer content where the queerness isn't the central point, as with this book. I certainly recommend it for anyone else who wants to see their queerness as a normal human variation. Moreso, I really liked seeing so many of my own thoughts and concerns written in words on the page. There were a few insights the author had that matched things I hadn't been able to put into words, and then other things which I can't understand (I am ace, the author very much isn't) but I expect other people will see themselves in. This kind of book, after all, is as important in showing what other people experience as in providing a mirror for the reader and saying "you are not alone in this".

I do wish there was a bit more depth to the book, but I can't blame the author for that considering its origins, format, and some cultural distance, and also I generally don't mesh well with memoirs because I prefer clearer story arcs that simply don't exist in real life. ( )
1 vote keristars | Jun 25, 2017 |
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The heart-rending autobiographical manga that's taken the internet by storm! My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman's exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist's burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.… (more)

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