Page 45 Review by Stephen
Brief bursts of autobiographical self-denigration as Liz Prince plays the dating game, pitching woo at boys with beards and losing 13-nil.
Comedic gold, she mines both her disasters and non-starters for all their considerable worth, whether it's online with OK Cupid or hanging out in bars with male mate Farhad, effectively cock-blocking each other. Of course people think they're a couple. It seems she can't win, even when approached by one of her readers - one of her bearded readers! - in an art store while obsessing over sketchbooks and pens with one of her female friends who has a flash-thought:
"Oh no! Do you think I'm dyking this up?"
That's a beautiful piece of cartooning, Liz frowning, fingers on chin, giving the matter the most careful consideration. So is this, with poor Liz left lank at the bar, shouting after a woman who's already made her mind up:
"You remind me of my gay friend Jess: she's short, has glasses, dresses like you
She only falls for straight girls, though."
"Oh, then she'd probably love me."
"No, I said she likes straight girls."
but I am
HEY! CAN'T YOU AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO STAND HERE WHILE I WEAKLY DEFEND MY SEXUALITY?!"
Men, of course, prove utterly useless, either full of their own self-importance, utterly unable to make decisions, conversation or even the first move. Actually that first move thing seems more like a power-play.
Here, however, is the shocking truth: Liz Prince actually gets some! She gets quite a lot! She gets, dates, snogs and shags! And they make take six minutes of hilarious, hair-tearing wait, but she also gets knock-out replies to flirty texts. Every second of that sequence is emotionally infectious for Prince's lines are as expressive as anyone's in the business, her body language adorable whether she's feeling foolish, deflated or glowing with girly glee.
She doesn't give up, either. There's an absolute champion of a strip in which she appropriates Charles Schulz's famous American football routine whose humour grows cumulatively on each reprise. In it Lucy cajoles a reluctant Charlie Brown into kicking the ball she's holding up for him. He's reluctant because he remembers that each time he gives in to her temptation and has a go against his better judgement, Lucy whips the ball away like someone pulling the rug from under you. Here the roles are reversed, for it is Liz being goaded by Charlie Brown as Cupid.
"Don't you want a chance at love?"
"Every time I take a kick at love you pull it out from under me!"
"Eventually you'll make contact. Everyone does. Odds are this next kick will be the one. I'll do my part and hold it down."
"He's right. This has to be the time I kick that old ball. Lucky at love! SO HERE I GO!"
What cements this book (from the creator of TOMBOY, WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME IF I WET THE BED?), BE YOUR OWN BACKING BAND and writer on COADY AND THE CREEPIES) is that there is, of course, a great deal of truth behind all this mirth - the recognition factor. But also it's the wit in its deployment as above, and so below.
After yet another unsatisfactory - and this time quite protracted courtship crushed by unanswered emails and texts - Liz Prince is reading The Book of Love while considering her options.
"It is hard to say "Bye" when someone asks you to give them a second chance. But part of growing up is learning to remove yourself from undesirable situations."
At the same time her bleating heart is far from still, fighting the wastrel's corner by reminding Liz of how good it once was. She snaps the book shut on it, silencing it, then opens it up to reveal her heart, dead as a doornail.
"When you're not on the same page, it's best to just tear that page out and move on."
As she tears that page out there is a sound effect that doubles as a death knell:
And that's why I love Liz Prince