I love that the phrase, “This one time at camp” has entered American cultural consciousness, whether because of or despite the origin of the line. Because, for most people of my generation, camp was a place where we developed our sense of self, worked through puberty and became who we actually were. I have many camp memories, and of them, most are really strange. ^_^
So for me, reading Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash was a bit like a view through a curtain of an alternate version of my own youth. Maggie’s experience at a Christian sleepaway camp is the alternative-universe version of my own Girl Scout camp experience where none of these things happened and no one was weird (which is weird itself) and we all came and went and no one ever tried to stay in touch. I don’t think.
In Honor Girl, Maggie begins the story with an awkward meeting with a girl whom she had met and fallen in like with as a camper, when Erin had been a counselor. The bulk of the book focuses on Maggie’s life, her experiences at the camp, her falling in like with Erin, beginning to get a clearer picture of her own desires and leaving without ever having gotten a chance to address what she and Erin felt.
In between that, we watch Maggie wade the deep, dark, and treacherous waters of young adulthood and friendships and rivalries with other girls. Individual moments stirred long-dormant memories in me, none of which had much emotional baggage. I remember camp…I don’t remember a single person at camp, only the horses. ^_^;
Honor Girl is plainly told, with a very adult-looking-back-at-her-youth tone, as if Maggie is struggling to find meaning in it, when both we and she know that there isn’t any, not really.
The art is clean and easy to follow, no sketchy line work clogging up the panels. Backgrounds are simple with just enough detail to establish the mise-en-scène fully.
The relationships between Maggie and the other girls are exactly as fraught as I remember relationships being at that age. One wants so much to have someone to confide in, but there’s always the understanding that betrayal could come for the most absurd of reasons. Maggie’s relationship with Erin exists only in outline, but Maggie knows the moment that the moment has passed and it’s over before it’s begun. I appreciated her self-awareness.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Service – 1 Nostalgia can be a form of “service”
Yuri – 3
Overall – 8
For today’s review, I must thank Okazu Superhero Clearesta T – thank you very much for picking something off the Yuri Wishlist! It’s greatly appreciated. Please contact me,so I can send you your Superhero badge!