In a departure from her usual work, Brittani Sonnenberg, whose powerful 2014 debut, Home Leave, made a deep impression on me and many other readers, is about to launch a weekly comic strip. Titled “The Bad-at-Coloring Book for Badass Divorcees,” the strip, which was inspired by Sonnenberg’s recent divorce and her experiences as a thirty-something woman, will be published every Wednesday on Maximum Middle Age, a feminist website.
According to Sonnenberg, “Each week will feature a different conundrum that the three divorcees — Anna, Thelma, and Patrice — tackle, with a final drawing prompt for the reader.” There will be a downloadable PDF at the bottom of the page, which readers can print out, draw on, then upload in the comments.
Sonnenberg, who lives in Austin after spending a few years in Berlin, has been working on the strip for the past few months, while continuing to work on her second novel.
“It’s been a really important and freeing thing for me to work on,” she said. “This is definitely one of the silliest things I’ve ever created, but it’s allowed me to reflect on what’s felt particularly difficult in the wake of my own divorce and life in my thirties. Even if you’ve never gone through a divorce, or if you’re a dude, I think there’s a lot to relate to. Okay, so the first week’s conundrum, freezing your eggs, might not be a burning topic for most men, but you can take it figuratively. Or draw something about saving your hair!”
She acknowledges that she is not a sophisticated artist. “My elementary school art teacher will be shocked to discover that I am launching a comic strip since she did not approve of my artwork in fourth grade and it basically looks the same now as it did then!” she noted.
But she hopes and believes that the strip’s content will resonate with many readers.
“I really hope it can free up some conversations about divorce, and shame, and aging. An even bigger hope is that it might make someone spit out what they’re drinking while they read it because they’re laughing, which seems like the penultimate comic strip achievement.”
You can view today’s debut strip here.
Read my review of Home Leave, my interview with Sonnenberg, and her guest post about life on a book tour.
Photo credit: Alex Trebus