Publisher: Fantagraphics
Writer & Artist: Lizzy Stewart

This book is a collection of stories about growing up, and how weird that is. Like how we do strange things as kids, like build stuff out of junk, and feel extreme embarrassment over what seemed important at the time and seems meaningless in the grand scheme of things. And let’s not forget twatting about with your friends when you’re bored. And then you’re meant to grow up. Be an adult and all that.

It’s also about how relationships change, both with other people, places and with yourself, and indeed how we change. The title is a direct reference to the expectation of adulthood from your younger self, and it’s not wrong.

There’s plenty of well-written conversational dialogue on offer. These feel like the actual conversations of kids at a comprehensive school in a crap town, or old acquaintances chatting about what they did while they were at the aforementioned school. The internal monologues about how we think about our hometowns and childhoods are very well observed.

The characters have a bit of a Mark Hempel feel, simple but expressive designs, and at times bring to mind Meredith Gran’s work on Octopus Pie. The backgrounds are sometimes done in monochrome watercolours, the shading providing the details. Some pages have multiple colours as the stories progress, and occasionally coloured pencils give extra detail. It covers a few styles, befitting its production over a few years and the way it’s telling stories about different parts of life, but it feels quite organic. British readers will recognise the council estates, temporary classrooms and the like, and 90s kids will appreciate the walkmans and posters in the early stories.

I saw a lot of myself in these stories, and perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so much. You find yourself wondering when you’re supposed to feel like you’ve grown up, that you’re ‘adulting’ as people say. Maybe we’re all just blagging it. And if we’re all just blagging it, why not read some comics. I can recommend this one.

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