Sunday, October 2, 2016

What I've Read: Bread and Butter #1 by Liz Mayorga

I guess I'm still on my comic book streak! Here's the thing: I'm just starting to get acclimated to NetGalley, and did not realize that I only had until the Archive date to read a book that was approved for me. When I saw that Bread and Butter #1 was archiving soon, I jumped on it!

So, yes: thank you to NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was ostensibly the first issue of Bread and Butter, a comic series about a young Latina woman named Liana Caudillo living in San Francisco. Anyone who works in the creative industry while also juggling another job knows something about her struggle: finding time to balance the demands of your work while maintaining your true passion and side hustle (hello, me).

This comic is a great entry into these ideas, and displays the central tension in places like San Francisco well. In just 24 pages, Bread and Butter asks how a city maintains it soul with progress and the ills of gentrification. It also asks how we balance our passion with the demands of the day, and how we fall in love with the place we call home while maintaining a complicated relationship to how it operates, its injustices, and all its beauty.

It's also a perfect example of how these dynamics play out within the service industry: the employee doing their best to perform their job well under the constrictions of low pay and high expectations, as well as the challenge of serving people who often exist in a higher socioeconomic strata than your own. Asking these questions under this lens is brilliant; an honest look at the working class and serving class is a good way to get a grounded sense of how the interplay of class and labour operates in a real way (and these viewpoints are generally under-represented in pop culture).

Bread and Butter feels confessional, and, as such, it's a beautifully insightful slice-of-life comic. The artwork is great, and I'm interested to see where the story goes from here. I did regret that it was only the first issue, because it felt like something that would be wonderful to devour in one sitting. I can't wait to see what comes next for Liana Caudillo and the Bread and Butter series.

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