by Rhea Ewing
Liveright Publishing Corp.
As graphic artist Rhea Ewing neared college graduation in 2012, they became consumed by the question: What is gender? This obsession sparked a quest in which they eagerly approached both friends and strangers in their quiet Midwest town for interviews to turn into comics. A decade later, this project exploded into a sweeping portrait of the intricacies of gender expression with interviewees from all over the country. Questions such as "How do you Identify" produced fiercely honest stories of dealing with adolescence, taking hormones, changing pronouns -- and how these experiences can differ, often drastically, depending on culture, race, and religion. Amidst beautifully rendered scenes emerges Ewing's own story of growing up in rural Kentucky, grappling with their identity as a teenager, and ultimately finding themself through art -- and by creating something this very fine. Tender and wise, inclusive and inviting, Fine is an indispensable account for anyone eager to define gender in their own terms.
"In their debut book, Ewing offers a timely, educative, and vividly rendered illustrated portrait... The author deftly assembles the most resonant responses, showing the participants generously discussing how gender is interconnected with race, culture, and sexuality; how it moves far beyond conventional masculine and feminine designations; and how embracing fluidity can be liberating and transformative regardless of social norms of appearance and behavior, many of which are constrictive and damaging... Ewing presents a uniquely straightforward, unembellished amalgam of narrative and illustration, smoothly braided with their own personal journey. The instructive yet never heavy-handed narrative boldly shows how identity is intimately interpreted and how connections with others can fortify perceptions and perspectives. A vital, richly textured resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of gender identity." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author:
Rhea Ewing (they/them) is a comic illustrator and fine artist who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BFA in drawing and printmaking. They currently live in California, taking artistic inspiration from the state's diverse landscapes.