Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz is another graphic memoir, a genre for which I am increasingly finding a fascination. Unfortunately, Wertz’ offering falls short of being insightful. Although amusing and occasionally quirky, she skims the surface of her own life and psyche in favor of coming off glib. Glib is easier than being candid and where other graphic memoirs can be profound, Wertz remains too interested in amusing her audience than engaging them.
If you want to read about a young single woman who skips from job-to-job with little to no explanation as to why she keeps getting fired, then this book will probably be engaging. But if you are more curious about her family’s struggle with her brother’s drug addiction, you won’t be content after reading this memoir. I don’t think I ever even learned what his drug of choice was, although I clearly knew what Wertz enjoyed using to numb her own feelings. And if you thought that after watching her drink her troubles away (only to have these same troubles bite her in the ass) would lead to seeing her share her own work towards sobriety, you won’t find it here. In face, the only gives two panels–not even two pages–to what is obviously a serious drinking problem.
Cute and charming at first, quirky soon gives way to tedious. If the Y-Generation is accused of being vapid and more interested in being snarky than sincere then Wertz will be the poster-child of her generation. I would like to think she has something more relevant to share. Unfortunately, with graphic memoirists like Bechdel and Small before her (and so very many others), Wertz brings nothing new or necessary to the table. And I feel like a teacher, writing a report card that says, "Does not live up to her potential." Well, she doesn't and I hope someday she will choose to do so.