When I finally got around to reading the book, I kicked myself for not immediately running to the bookstore when Alyssa initially suggested it. By far, "Something New" is the best book I read in 2016. (I know a lot of people don't consider graphic novels books, but they're so wrong!)
"Something New" is artist Lucy Knisley's engagement/wedding memoir. She tells the backstory of her romance with her husband, their engagement and the ensuing months of wedding planning. There's no real plot here. In the wrong hands, this could have been a structural disaster. Instead, Knisley expertly weaves together cute stories, wedding planning advice and her opinions on the modern wedding industrial complex.
I've only read a handful of graphic novels, but Knisley's work is quite different from most others I've read. Structure - or lack thereof - has something to do with it. Even Knisley's fictional work has a meandering quality that I love.
But part of why "Something New" succeeds is because Knisley allows readers into such an intimate part of her life. She candidly the expresses existential angst I think most of us experience when faced with an eternity spent with just one person. To see one's own anxieties on page, in full color, is refreshing. The world feels less lonely when I read Lucy Knisley's stuff.
I'm not art critic, but her drawings can't be undervalued in such a visual medium. The bright, fun images are incredibly engaging and say so much without having to spell things out for the viewer. Reading her stuff this year has really turned me into a fangirl - follow her on Instagram, she's a treasure.
Successful art in any form makes people feel things. I knew I loved this book when I found myself crying over Knisley's wedding as if it were my own. And though I've got another nine months to go before mine, I feel like "Something New" was a wonderful preview of all the exciting, funny, insane times ahead of me.