Book Review: Stone Fruit by Lee Lai

Stone Fruit by Lee Lai

Title: Stone Fruit

Author: Li Lai

Genre: GLBTQIA+ Graphic Novels

Number of Pages: 236

Rating: B-

Recommended? Yes

Stone Fruit is a peculiar but poignant piece of work, centering around a lesbian and her transgender lover’s warm, maternal relationship with the lesbian’s young niece. Bron (a trans woman) and Ray (a gay woman) are having relationship problems, but their best times together always involve six-year-old Nessie. Ray’s sister isn’t supportive of Ray’s relationship with Bron at all and treats both of them badly, worried about leaving her daughter with a *GASP* transgender person.

She’s just generally a bitch and when her and Ray actually talk to each other it almost always leads to a fight. One day Bron packs up her bags and leaves, trying to find closure by seeking out her bigoted parents. She hopes that making peace with them will help her with her depression, but it only puts her back into a toxic situation. One of the first things you’ll probably notice when reading this graphic novel is when Bron, Ray, and Nessie are playing together they all turn into freaky-looking monsters. We see monster-Bron, monster-Ray, and monster-Nessie running through the forest and once when Bron and Ray make love they retain their surreal appearances.

So, that was weird but I think it represents these three people letting their guard down and allowing themselves to go ‘wild.’ I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the artwork, some of the characters look a lot alike and Bron and Ray usually maintain a similar flat expression. I really liked the story and how naturalistic the characters were. The dialogue felt like real conversations and the prejudice Bron and Ray suffer had a surprising amount of subtlety, showing how many different ways to make people feel unseen. I enjoyed this book and getting to know it’s troubled but kind-hearted main characters, and I would definitely seek out another book by this author.

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