- Books, Literature, and Writing
Gingerbread Girl: No, I'm not on some"Ginger" kick here
Before I get started, let me remark that reviewing this comic after "Ginger Snaps" was a total coincidence. Although both stories involve possibly mentally disturbed young women and their titles reference ginger-based cookies, the two have almost nothing in common.
Annah Billips is a strange young woman, tending to bizarre behavior which is interpreted as endearing to those around her. She is so endearing that, as our story opens, she has two dates set up for the same night, one with coworker Chili and other with a customer of hers named Jerry, with her deciding to keep the engagement of whichever one arrives first. This turns out to be Chili, and the two leave to go on their date, leaving poor Jerry in the lurch.
The rest of the comic (written by Paul Tobin and drawn by Colleen Coover) follows Annah and Chili as they go on their date around downtown Portland, but that's not what the comic is really about. Instead, the comic is mostly an examination of the character of the mysterious Annah, particularly her bizarre insistence on the existence of her sister Ginger.
You see, according to Annah, right around the time her parents got divorced, her father performed an experiment on her, removing Annah's Penfield homunculus, a section of the brain vaguely shaped like the human body which controls touch, and using it to grow Annah an identical twin sister, named Ginger. Annah claims that while she herself cannot feel (either physical stimuli or emotions) she can feel more when Ginger is present. A few years previously, Annah lost track of Ginger, and now she is desperate to rediscover her.
The comic leaves it open as to whether or not Annah's story is real or not. One of the most interesting elements of the comic is that, as it goes along, the reader encounters passerby who break the fourth wall to address the reader on their own opinions of and experiences with Annah, including what they think of the Ginger story. Nearly everyone has proof both that Ginger is imaginary and that she's real, or can explain both how the science behind Annah's story is absurd yet might still hold weight. Remarkably this doesn't confusing or make it seem like Paul Tobin is dicking around with the readers, but instead makes the story intriguingly open-ended while simultaneously fascinating to ponder.
The only issue I found with this comic is its portrayal of Annah. Although we are given excuses for her bad treatment of others ( for instance, planning two dates at the same time and leaving poor Jerry in the lurch when he shows up later than Chili) by indicating that she's not a particularly mentally stable young woman, her self-centeredness is rather off-putting in a character that others find charming. However, the story at least acknowledges that her behavior is absent-mindlessly cruel and off-putting to those who get to know her more deeply.
All in all, this is a fun little morsel of a story. If you should see it, check it out to read an interesting story interestingly told.