The graphic novel, When I Came Out has a European mentality to sexual imagery and drug/alcohol use. Therefore, this is an adult first (mature teens second) aimed, is not for all audiences. This is an agult graphic novel as the idea is based on how Anne Mette Kærulf Lorentzen came to terms with her sexuality later in life. This “late bloomer” (taken from her support group name later in the book) finally came out to herself as being a lesbian after 10 years of marriage and four children. She was bombarded with what a Girl should do/how she should behave. She should get married to a nice strong man who can take care of her. She should be a happy housewife, mother, and wear pretty dresses and be a “good girl.” Flash forward from 1988 to 2018 where she finally allows herself to say, “I am a lesbian.”
In a a “journal entry” format (we get actual diary entries, and the story arc is shown from her point of view). The author takes us on a journey with her main character. This character’s life is laid bare for all of us to see. We see her trying to please her husband sexual, remember to pick the kids up from school/practice, and take care of her aging parents, as her mother falls deeper into dementia. Plus, her brother is no help, with his not keeping a woman or job more than a few weeks, and his snarky remarks about women, gay women and his sister’s sexuality. We see how the confusion the character has about her best friend as a child, her attraction now they are adults, the times when her fear was greater than her want, and even her affairs.
The MAUS like taking of animals into human forms is both a plus and minus. The plus is it gives a “separation” from the reality, but the minus is the stereotypes (one of the lesbians in a bar is a “big bad scary alligator”). This is a “what is your personal okayness with this kind of representation”. Sometimes things can get a bit surreal and even at times oddly “off putting.” This is not for everyone but is a strong story that we do not usually see.