Review of Naked: The Confessions of a Normal Woman by author and illustrator Éloïse Marseille
Graphic novel memoirs are a favorite genre of mine. I really enjoy seeing an author tell their story through their own words and images. It adds an extra layer of personality to the events. Everyone has their own style and illustrations are just as much a reflection of an author as their words.
Naked: The Confessions of a Normal Woman takes the title seriously as the author depicts herself naked in all her beauty and flaws. In her own illustrations she gives herself visible body hair, a prominent nose, and frizzy hair. She does not shy away from the warts in “warts and all” either as she goes as far to confess her herpes diagnosis as one of the many revelations.
The fact that this seems shocking is part of the point that she’s trying to make. She is a normal woman and many women (and men) everywhere have some variation of the herpes virus. They just don’t talk about it so it remains stigmatized and comes with a layer of shame. This normal woman is making these confessions so that others can feel normal too.
Author Marseille has no reservations as she discusses sex, love, porn, medical conditions, and what it means to be a woman. Early in life a doctor told her that she’s infertile due to a thyroid condition that cannot be cured. She cannot have biological children. Does that make her less of a woman? No, of course not, but some parts of society say otherwise.
Through a journey of self discovery she is able to come to terms with her diagnosis, her sexuality, and her own body. Any reader will be able to relate to these difficulties that happen throughout life, not just as we grow up.
Although women can surely benefit from seeing all of these issues laid bare men can also benefit from reading Naked: The Confessions of a Normal Woman. Men can see that women can also struggle with things like porn addiction, a problem stereotypically applied to men. These problems are universal.
After we come to terms with the questions of sexuality and romance is when we can learn who we are outside of those things. Although love for others is very important, it’s just as important to love yourself. It’s a great step for anyone to get to the point that they can see who they are outside of a relationship and live for themselves instead of someone else.
Find your own hobbies, set your own goals, love your body, and recognize that we’re all “normal.”
4/5 women 🙎🏼♀️🙎🏼♀️🙎🏼♀️🙎🏼♀️
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