This year I’ve been challenging myself to read outside of my comfort zone. I saw “My Brother’s Husband” on the bookshelf at my library and remembered hearing about it online regarding some of the top new graphic novels. This was a good book for getting me out of my comfort zone for sure.
The premise of this book is that Yaichi is a Japanese single-dad who’s remembering his younger brother, Ryoji, and the first anniversary of his death. Who should come knocking but Ryoji’s husband Mike (he’s Canadian). One of my critiques of this book is that we have to make some assumptions here. One is that we are supposed to know that Ryoji moved to Canada and two that Yaichi knew Mike was coming to visit. We never see much clarification on those points in the book.
From then on Yaichi and his daughter Kana, become the archetypes for people we see in the world around and how they relate to the LGBT community. Yaichi is suddenly confronted by his own homophobia which he had never thought to consider. And Kana is the voice for obvious questions that any kid would ask and is happy with the answers since she hasn’t bought into stereotypes or generalizations or shame culture regarding sex. She’s only about 8 in this book.
The characters’ interactions all felt genuine but instructive at the same time. It made me question just how comfortable I would be if I had a gay or lesbian sibling and their partner showed up at my door in order to learn about their husband’s/wife’s past. And it challenged me to think how I would answer some of Kana’s questions.
Volume 1 only gets us about halfway through this encounter with Mike, Yaichi, and Kana but I’ll be looking forward to Volume 2 and seeing how the characters continue to develop.