September 28, 2019 10:03 AM - by Tillie Walden - Subscribe

Tillie Walden's graphic memoir about being a mid-level competitive figure skater and queer teen in Texas. Spinning captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
posted by dinty_moore (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is as good as everyone said it would be, and incredibly affecting. The art is sparse, but very beautiful - and I feel like the use of color to indicate flashbacks worked better in this book than On a Sunbeam.

It really struck me how long she continued at it without feeling like she was able to stop. And how scheduled her life was - SAT tutoring, skating, cello lessons. There's a sense that she didn't really fit in, but not necessarily that she wanted more free time.

There's something about hearing a 15 year-old talk about not being able to wear underwear and having to figure out how to cover her nipples without wearing a bra that's. . . a lot.

It's a memoir, so there are parts that feel a lot less final than I would have liked. She says she eventually talks to Rae again, but we never see it. We don't know how her relationship with her brother changed after he told her she was wrong. She also wrote about this with maybe three years of distance? Considering how long it takes to draw 400 pages, it might have been even less. It'd be interesting to see how she feels about these events five, ten years down the line.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2019

I liked this, but I liked On A Sunbeam better. This one sometimes seemed like it didn't quite know where it was going and what it wanted to be, although the parts that worked well worked very well.
posted by kyrademon at 7:06 AM on September 29, 2019

I wasn't concerned with the fine details of the narrative in this one so much as with the overall feeling--which I find very plausible--of how much effort, dedication, and heartache goes into children's amateur sports, for very little in the way of tangible rewards aside from medals or trophies--the vast majority of these girls won't get anywhere near a national level of competition, let alone international or the Olympics. Maybe that's for the best, as movies such as I, Tonya show, but there's something bittersweet in Walden's walking away from it, knowing that the whole machinery of it, and the kids still caught in it, keep grinding on.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:52 PM on September 29, 2019

My kid skated for years, nowhere near this level, but I've seen these kids at the rink. I was amazed that her parents were never there with (or for) her.
posted by mogget at 12:46 PM on October 2, 2019

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