Book Review: Flocks by L. Nichols

Flocks: Nichols, L.: 9780999193525: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Flocks

Author: L. Nichols

Genre: Graphic Novel/Memoir

Number of Pages: 332

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


 

 

I ordered this graphic novel online without knowing much about it, which I fully blame on the cover art. How can you not see those creepy little puppets and be immediately intrigued? The graphic novel tells the story of the author’s upbringing in a very tightknit religious community and how he came out as gay and later as a trans man. You might get the impression that L. Nichol’s outlook on organized religion would be very negative but I was impressed by how he managed to have a balanced view not only on Christianity, but also on the people he grew up with who largely feel he’s committed a mortal sin through embracing an alternate lifestyle and transitioning.

 

He portrays the ways in which his community nurtured him when he was growing up, and to him their prejudiced views don’t cancel out the kind things they did for him. Throughout the book, L. Nichols draws himself as gender-fluid doll, sometimes happy but often frightened, naked, and vulnerable. Conceptually this seems like it shouldn’t work at all, especially when most of the other characters just look like flesh-and-blood people. However, I was surprised to discover it worked extremely well and was one of the strongest elements of the whole book.

 

If this book has one distracting fault it’s that it can be very repetitive at times, there’s a portion around the middle of the story where L. Nichols basically repeats himself over and over, like he wants an excuse to include more illustrations unaware that his lack of narrative direction takes things to a grinding halt. Like countless other authors, he needed a more discerning editor to tell him when he was going on a tangent that just wasn’t interesting anymore.

 

Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and I especially took notice of the author’s obvious artistic talents. Not that this has anything to do with whether the book is good or not, but I got the impression that L. Nichols is a genuinely kind and fair-minded person. I also noticed that he was misgendered on the blurb on the back of the book, which I imagine caused some headaches on the part of publishers.

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