*Please God, Find Me a Husband! — Best of 2012

I asked for a copy of this not-yet-published-in-the-US graphic novel because I thought it sounded like an intriguing take on chick lit in illustrated form. I was pleased by what I found, although it turned out to be something else altogether.

This autobiographical tale begins with Simone Lia being dumped. She feels like a spinster, although she’d like to be in a relationship, so since she’s Catholic, she asks God for help. His answers — which involve reassuring her of His presence, then sending her on an adventure to Australia — make up the rest of the book. This isn’t a “how I found love with a guy” story, but one about God’s love.

It’s refreshing to see a religious person portrayed in comics without them being a villain or an extremist. Even if you don’t agree with her beliefs or choices, it’s a rewarding read to follow her journey. I particularly liked seeing her spend time with modern nuns. Her friend Sister Mary Trinity provides some useful and practical advice, keeping her grounded in light of her more fanciful imaginings. As a result, Simone spends two weeks at the convent, seeking focus and guidance. I love graphic novels that show unusual places or experiences like this; it’s enjoyable reading about something I’ll never do and getting an idea of how it might feel.

It’s also a welcome reminder of how inspirational devoted believers can be, those who dedicate their lives to doing good and helping others. The nun makes visits to the homebound, sharing times when she most saw God in her life and bringing them comfort through worship. At that time, Simone notes how she was reminded of how fortunate she was, and I shared that emotion, trying to focus on what is truly important in life during difficult times of uncertainty.

Please God, Find Me a Husband! panel

The reader doesn’t have to share her beliefs to find her experiences encouraging. One mostly silent sequence, where Simone comes to terms with her presence among the nuns, is particularly reflective. It can be hard to be alone with yourself, to simply be who you are. Alternately, the book can be read in an anthropological fashion, learning about the traditions of Catholicism. She draws herself in Biblical times and hanging out with God, using the visuals of a comic to better illustrate her thoughts and search.

Simone draws in a flat style, blue-tinted in this book, that conveys her emotion while feeling very approachable. It’s also well suited for the nuns’ outfits. Readers of other popular graphic autobiographies, especially the extremely well-known Persepolis, will be comfortable with the approach. It’s deceptively simple, allowing readers to concentrate on what’s happening, not how it’s shown.

Her advice, as given to her by another sister, is simple and yet extraordinarily difficult: communicate with God, do works of charity, and take daily time for silence. It’s such a contrast to the priorities and progress of the world we live in. The title is a bit misleading, in that her wish for a spouse is only the starting point of a significant realization in her life.

Find out more at the author’s website. The Guardian has posted the first chapter as a slide show with narration by Simone Lia. (The publisher provided a review copy.)


11 Responses to “*Please God, Find Me a Husband! — Best of 2012”

  1. argo plummer Says:

    Wow! This sounds fascinating. I love stories where people have faith / a religious belief system and they are real people–not charicatures. Will this be released to the US soon? Thanks for the spotlight!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Thank you for including reviews of spiritual comics as well as comics for children. There is a market for both. (I’m one of them!)

  3. Johanna Says:

    I am to be diverse and inclusive. If I cover porn occasionally, I should also write about the more spiritual material. For balance. :)

    Argo, I don’t know if there are plans to put the book out over here — I get the impression the artist is better known in the UK than here. I’d ask the publisher, but they’re all off for the Diamond Jubilee.

  4. argo plummer Says:

    And it is that diversity–presented in an even handed, non-judgemental way–that keeps me coming back to this blot. I would say that our comic reading worlds intersect a minimal amount, but I always appreciate your perspective on all things, even when I don’t agree. I enjoy conversations and differing perspective and this site gives me just that–plus I probably wouldn’t have read Faith Erin Hicks, Scott Chantler, or Thom Zahler without your diversity. I just wanted you to know that I may not always agree, but I usually do appreciate.

    BTW, my library system has a different work my Ms. Lia, so I will check that out and hope Please God…shows up as well. Thanks.

  5. argo plummer Says:

    Blog. Not blot–damned auto correct!

  6. DeBT Says:

    Cancer Vixen also had a surprisingly high count of positive portrayals of Christians giving an outpouring amount of support towards the protagonist. Would that there be more portrayals of Christians like these than the overbombastic ones we’re so familiar with.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Thank you very much, Argo.

  8. argo plummer Says:

    DeBT–just put cancer vixen on hold through my local library. Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. hapax Says:

    Wow, would I love to purchase this for my library.

    The Adult GN section is a regular target for censors in this very conservative area; I would love to include more quality inspirational GNs to help diversify my collection.

    If you do get in touch with the publishers, let them know that the library market is interested!

  10. Best Graphic Novels of 2012 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Please God, Find Me a Husband! by Simone Lia [...]

  11. *Lighter Than My Shadow — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] I don’t remember where I heard about this graphic novel last year, but it sounded good enough that I imported a copy from the UK, where it was published by Jonathan Cape. (It’s in good company — they published Posy Simmonds and one of the best graphic novels of 2012.) […]

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