Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Harm's Way0
Image by iOna Switchblade
Book Review: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
I began reading Roller Girl on the subway, but quickly came to realize that I couldn’t really read it in public. By p. 12, I was getting choked up. By p. 15, I was laughing and crying. While this graphic novel is fun and entertaining, it is also poignant, and hits the bullseye in its exploration of the evolution of friendships, of finding a place to belong, and of navigating the confusing experiences of adolescence.
Anyone who has ever become passionate about roller derby, or about any community that has welcomed them as well as challenged and inspired them, will recognize every moment experienced by twelve year-old Astrid: The excitement of discovering this brave new world; the self-doubt and frustrations as one tries something wholly new for the first time; the passion-fueled determination to succeed despite all obstacles; and ultimately the reward of sharing this experience with a group of others lit by the same inner fire. Astrid’s experiences are universal, albeit seen through the lens of youthful inexperience. Frankly, many of us full-fledged adults don’t master the nuances of coping with the world until much later on, if ever, and while this was created for middle-grade readers—who will revel in it—this is a great read for any age.
Victoria “Winnie the Pow” Jamieson lived these experiences. Those who don’t know of her autobiographical comic strip (i.e. “illustrated journal”) of her adventures as a skater with Portland, OR’s Rose City Rollers, should treat themselves by checking it out. Roller Girl is a wonderful debut graphic novel that is sure to satisfy all readers, kids or not, familiar with roller derby or not. Absolutely magnificent.