My dear friend M bought me Lisa Brown’s Depressed. Repressed. Obsessed. for my birthday this year (Important sidenote: I should also note that M included in the package a card with an illustration of Beyoncé in “Formation” and the caption “You Slay” on the front. Basically, it was the best birthday present ever.) I had never seen her three-panel book review cartoons before, and I regret not doing so. She is a talented cartoonist, and her reviews are spot-on. I am always a sucker for pithy reviews of classic literature, and Brown’s work is right up my alley.
Brown tackles all sorts of classic books, from The Catcher in the Rye to Jane Eyre to The Scarlet Letter. Each comic is only three panels long, and the words may vary, but the formula is always the same: three panels to the review. The book gets its title from Brown’s review of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which includes one word for each panel: Depressed, which features a depressed woman getting counselling; Repressed, which features her shutting down and glancing skeptically at the ugly wallpaper in her bedroom; and Obsessed, which shows her tearing at the wallpaper. The illustrations really bring the reviews to life.
This is a must-read if you, like me, were an English major in college and/or read a LOT of classics. I haven’t read them all (Madame Bovary, for example), but if you have a basic idea of the stories, then you should be just fine. My personal favorite might be either Jane Eyre or The Scarlet Letter. I may have laughed inappropriately loudly at both of these…
Cross-posted to my blog.