Shame Pudding is a busy, funny, odd, strange, strong story growing up, even when you are an adult. Danny Noble’s memoir shows the years she and her wacky, crazy, bizarre, weird, off the charts amazing family had. From a young girl who performed on the performing stool, who told her brother Adam there was an invisible wolf in the cupboard, who would lick his hand, who would eat her marshmallows quickly while bemoaning Adam’s savoring of them to a teen who knew the pubs, the joys of anxiety and depression, who knew what it meant to enjoy the protest of communists and socialists, who knew what it was like to sing in a band (which her father wished was folk music) to the adult she is today.
In the middle of that we meet her two Grandmothers: Ma and Grandma Min. Two opposites who enjoyed each other and their family. One who threatened to punch you in the nose and one who cut out her granddaughter’s favorite football team scores (or whatever the new interest was) out of the paper. We see the unconditional love of these two women, and the rest of her family. We see her friends, good friends, great friends, and not so good relationships. Noble is messed up, just like the rest of us, but there is light at the end of her tunnel that was not a train, but love, hope, troubles, sadness, music, art and much more.
The artwork is an acquired taste. I hated it. Noble makes herself look like a fat Afghan dog with stringy hair. She has no body (sometimes), only legs (usually unshaved), and sometimes looks naked, as do the other characters. Unless they don’t. Her method of art is her own wonderment. I feel it fits the craziness; I cannot see these people “perfectly created.” But they are perfectly imperfect. Having found their work also on Instagram, I am assuming they could have been more “rough” shall we say?
There is language, some content (drugs, drinking, sex, GLBTQ) and the formatting that is not for the younger reader. At least 14 and up can do, but I would lean even older to adult.