Book Club! “Snotgirl” Vol 1+2 by: Brian Lee O’Malley + Leslie Hung

I’m in a bit of a minority with my love of Snotgirl—a cursory glance over at GoodReads shows this comic is not being received very well. Many are turned off by the main character—a self-obsessed popular influencer and fashion blogger. Lottie is extremely flawed, bitchy, judgmental, vapid, and petrified of the prospect of the world seeing more of the truth of her life—someone whose life is consumed and ruled by extreme anxiety allergies. She’s easily unlikeable. And who wants an unlikeable female protagonist? Who wants a hot unlikeable female protagonist? Who wants a hot, unlikeable female protagonist struggling to get accustomed to a new medication affecting her in strange, unknown ways and turning her into an unreliable narrator? Not many people apparently. But I find Lottie—the muddiness of the plot as seen through her experiences, and the murky lines between real or demented intrusive fantasy and its strange violence—a rather fascinating character from a psychological perspective. 

A lot of the time while reading Snotgirl, the mantra of ‘fake it till you make it’ kept coming to mind and how this rings true for so many of us. But in this case, what happens when you do ‘make it’– as our main character has, and you’re still an insecure, anxious mess and a judgmental bitch to compensate? This comic made me realize that faking something, going all out and not knowing what you’re really doing until it gets you somewhere is only a true journey if you bring every piece of you along for the ride, even the ugly bits, the unflattering, un-aesthetically pleasing, unsavory, unhealthy pieces of us too— or else we will remain as unfulfilled and unhappy as our tragic Lottie, who is literally splintered in two— the half of herself that she presents to the world, and the half of her—the sick half of her—that she represses, denies, and is petrified of being found out. Her vanity is a bandaid for her soaring anxiety, her intense paranoid over how she’s being seen and perceived. Her insecurity is mirrored in her relationships too—she rejects so much of herself she is predictably incapable of having more than surface-value relationships with others, whom she also doesn’t fully accept and often resents.

I guess Snottie Lottie represents to me a kind of very personal cautionary tale—personal because I am making my try at being blogger–and I also have a serious weakness for all things beauty and style. But hopefully one who is not splintered down the middle— obsessed with a curated construction of a flawless persona—one who brings both her best self as well as her dirty laundry and emotional baggage she’s been carrying silently for over a decade. It’s cathartic to howl into the void of the internet what hell suffering from various mental and physical ailments I’ve been carrying. And its been therapeutic to explore fashion and beauty as a vehicle for self transformation, self appreciation and acceptance. Not about beauty and style for beauty and style’s sake—but in how embracing glamour can slowly morph the way one feels about themselves. I don’t think it’s superficial at all to want to feel confident and pretty— in fact, for those of us who’ve been down roads like mine—it can be triumphant.  

If any of y’all have read this fun comic, let me know your thoughts!

x Rae

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