Drinking at the Movies

Ugh. I have a stack of books towering on my bedside table. They are part of the New Regime (resolution-style), and they are all good for me (Zen! Shakespeare! Financial management!) but they are certainly not FUN. My eyes were even glazing on BART over reading The Street of Crocodiles, by Bruno Schulz, which is very lovely but meandering.

Lucky the SF Library pulled through at exactly the right time! I finally received Julia Wertz’s Drinking at the Movies, a graphic novel memoir, which I requested months ago.

It won’t be a great revelation to say that people like what they know. I know that I am much kinder to a work if it resonates with me, or, even better for some reason, features places that I haunt. Adrian Tomine, who frequently draws East Bay locales, or Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector, which took place in Berkeley both have me sitting up straight in bed, squealing, “OH yes, I know that hot dog stand!! I have frequented that hot dog stand!!”

Anyways. Wertz’s memoir chronicles her move from SF to Brooklyn, and as I live in the beginning end of her journey, I didn’t find as many places to squeal about. (Although her cliches about the Bay were pretty apt). It’s the mid-20s crisis that especially hits close to home for me. What the heck am I supposed to be doing? Is everyone else this aimless? Why can’t I get paid for drinking beer and watching tv in my bed?

Wertz has an open, if not entirely friendly voice and drawing style to accompany those of us struggling in your twenties (and if you’re not struggling, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT). Her own life has a few more curveballs, as her brother is a recovering addict and her own relationship with alcohol suggests addiction might run in the family. But it’s a wry, frank, and funny take on that time in your life when you not only don’t only know how to put on your bootstraps, you don’t even know what bootstraps are.

I’m determined to check out her earlier work (which takes place in San Francisco!!!),  Fart Party. Here’s her website, and blog, and stuff on Amazon.