Book Review: Bingo Love

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The love story of two LGBT African American women spanning decades.

When Mari walks into Hazel’s life, everything she knows changes. The two girls fall in love quickly but are forced apart after Mari’s grandmother witnesses them kissing and sends her away. Quickly after Hazel marries a man and they live in relative okayness for decades until suddenly Mari walks back in Hazel’s life and she is willing to drop everything for her.

This graphic novel is a perfect example of the idea of something surpassing the end result. A graphic novel about African American women falling in love in the 60s and embracing that love and sexuality later in life? Flippin’ awesome. I read the concept behind this book and nabbed it from the library right away. However while the premise itself is wonderful, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

My biggest struggle with this book is the writing. There is a complete lack of personalization and interest in our main couple. They meet, fall in love and are torn apart over the span of fifteen or so pages, but we never really learn WHY they’re in love. They hang out a lot, they spend a lot of time together and that’s sweet and lovely, but there’s nothing personal here. I never felt like I learned anything about Mari or Hazel. Part of the reason why I don’t think I feel much at the end of this book when everything wraps up in a tidy bow is that we don’t really progress into liking either of our characters. The weakest part of the book is the writing, and it honestly feels like all the characters are written exactly the same way, so there’s not a lot of distinction to latch onto.

The other thing that is infuriating is that the author includes little “if you want to read more about this, buy issue X” snippets in the book. I. Hate. This. Don’t try and sell me more of your book when I’m not even halfway through your first and can’t fully see how I feel about it yet. Comics do this on occasion when referring to something as a side note, but the author leaves out a HUGE plot point, the secret of James, and we can only learn about it by buying another comic even though it directly effects the story we are currently reading. Big nope from me. It actually made me resentful.

The idea behind this is fabulous and I am glad it exists in literature. I just wish it had been executed better and with a more realistic writing style. I don’t think I’d read anything else by this author but the artist and colorist deserve all the praise for making this book gorgeous and vibrant. Infinitely more interesting to look at the art rather than reading the actual book.

Title:  Bingo Love
Author:  Tee Franklin with art & coloring by Jenn St-Onge and Joy San
Format:  Paperback
Pages: 88
ISBN: 9781534307506

Three Descriptors: Colorful, LGBT diverse, Hopeful

Read Alikes:
Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
Soppy by Philippa Rice
Luisa by Carole Maurel
Generations by Flavia Bondi

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