|Michael and I both like black cats and fingerless gloves.|
A White Girl Named Shaquanda: A Chomo Allegory and Trewish Story by Myriam Gurba: This little book is staple-bound, loaded with margin scribbles (one page has a fringe of bangs for no particular reason) and available only on Etsy (that I know of). True to its zine-ish appearance, the story is punky and irreverent—in the realm of simile, things are likely to get compared to body parts and fluids—but it is anything but dashed off.
For the teen narrator, coming of age on California’s Central Coast means navigating boys’ probing hands, girls’ gossipy accusations, and teachers’ assholery. These more realistic scenes are juxtaposed with snippets of the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, which are written in a more absurd style—and yes, it is possible to amp up the absurdity of Michael Jackson. Together, the two threads condemn child abuse while acknowledging its ubiquity and contemplating the larger metaphorical implications of society’s sexual hypocrisies (the definition of “ho,” for Gurba, is “being a girl”).
All of this happens in prose that is funny, electric and so tightly packed I had to read many sentences twice—in a good way. I love Gurba’s language and her fearlessness. She makes me want to let my own freak flag fly, and to sew it with precise, beautiful stitches.