Boundless

by Jillian Tamaki

I picked up Boundless from the graphic novel section because I liked the cover: the title and author’s names handwritten in big, skinny letters around a picture of a woman putting her hair in a ponytail. The picture is all penwork, with lots of close hatching for the shadows, with a great expression in the woman’s face — she’s looking down and to her left, as though deep in thought or consideration of something. The stories in Tamaki’s book look at you in the same way. Each story is sort of like an amuse bouche, small and surprising and interesting and then over, leaving you wanting more. My favorite was 1.Jenny, about a mysterious mirror Facebook that features versions of people that diverge from their own lives, exposed on the social network. The story doesn’t waste time figuring out how the mirroring works, or whether the two doppelgangers are linked somehow (though it seems to be that they are, and the use of mirror leads to that conclusion as well), but rather uses the situation as a vehicle for the main character, Jenny’s, personal transformation to a more healthy person, both physically and mentally. I also loved shorter stories like The Clairfree System, Darla! and Half Life, about a woman who begins shrinking one day and finally disappears. The art is most expressive, and I think the best, in Bedbug, which uses a bedbug infestation as a metaphor for marital infidelity and stays on the cheater’s point of view — which I haven’t seen many times before and is interesting, to see her side of things. Overall, it’s a good book with great art and I want to read more Tamaki.