The Fire Never Goes Out: A Memoir in Pictures is not for everyone. It took me some time to get through Noelle Stevenson’s memoir. Before I go into the details, I will say, read this book as many times as is needed. This is not an easy read, not just because of the themes, but because of how it is written. A graphic novel is not always the best way to present yourself but also, what better way for an artist to do just that? The fonts can be difficult to read. One is almost “cursive” the other a handwritten message to the author themselves.
Stevenson made a memoir that hits the highlights and summarizes the authors life. This is a journal to us (the reader) and to Stevenson. It is a scrapbook. It is a look back at memories that might not be completely remembered or are still being processed. From 2011 to 2019 Stevenson takes us on a strange, beautiful, self-centered (but not necessarily selfish), realistic journey. While they do not go into extreme details, they explore their rise to fame, their successes, their failures, going to art school, jobs (paying and not), websites that launched their work, about living on their own, and living with roommates, much is dealt with about their mental health and finally finding love when they did not think it was possible.
This is aimed for ages at least 14 to adult. It is more about the concepts and not so much the content that makes it more mature. However, things are not “sugar coated over,” Stevenson just decides to give you a taste to help you see where they came from. If you are not familiar with Stevenson, that is okay, but knowing the graphic novel Nimona helps you see where Nimona came from as she is part Stevenson and “every person.” This also helps you understand Stevenson a little more. This is a must read to understand as it is hard to explain without extreme details. It is not so much you would spoil the plot, as this is non-fiction (unless you do not know about their works) but there are several subtleties that just make the read more persona. And it is better to go at this without too many preconceived notions. The fire will burn long after you shut the book and if it does not make you think this was one of the most wonderful and horrific books at the same time, I will be surprised. This book is a Wonderful ride. An Odd ride. A Fun but not Easy, ride.