Dykes To Watch Out For

Thoughts     Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, Firebrand Books 1986, 78 pages.

MOTIVATION for READING:     I had read so many great reviews of various titles by Alison Bechdel and so was testing my area’s InterLibraryLoan system;  this one popped up.    I reserved it for my GLBT Challenge and my OPEN category in the Twenty in Ten Challenge:  Graphic Novel.     I’m going to say that this book picked me.

Don’t you love books that are SMART FUNNY?   This one is.    And I howled at the 80s references (see the published date of 1986) – so spot on.

I have to admit I was delighted (in hopes of reading 100 books this year and I’m off that mark) at the page count of 77 – I am seriously taking more time to write this review than it did to flip through every panel!      Little humorous vignettes that are obviously about lesbian relationships but have universal themes.     Truly, it is a look at the craziness of relationships, ANY relationships – beginnings, middles, and ends, etc.

One of my favorite things was the smattering of panels for each letter of the alphabet that showcase a type of lesbian.   I love the alphabet!   I love to read books, blog posts, anything that features the alphabet.     And then – surprise!!!    The last pages has “the Amazon’s Bedside Companion:  A Sophisticated Alphabet and Subliminal Picture Quiz” which had me breezing through once again from the beginning!   For example, the Z page featured a Zinnia and I totally missed it.   So clever and fun.

Nymeth recently reviewed one of Bechdel’s latest (as I understand it, an extension/compilation of what she started in the book I’m reviewing here); I must quote her:

“the main appeal of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For is actually how very universal and how human it is.”


RATING:   Four slices of pie.


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24 thoughts on “Dykes To Watch Out For

  1. So funny! I just reviewed this too; I didn’t like it at all. I understand how it’s smart-funny and portrays lesbian relationships like any other relationship, but it didn’t do anything for me at all and thought it was way too wordy and political. I was surprised — I expected to love it! Glad you liked it.

  2. I’m going to have to get this one soon. I’ve had it on my book-buying-ban Christmas list for months now, Christmas may be too long to wait. Great review!

  3. I liked Fun Home a lot, so Bechdel’s other writing is on my list. I’m not surprised other people found her too wordy, though; when I read Fun Home, one of my minor criticisms was that she sometimes put too many words on a page. It can be hard to find a balance, I guess, when you are writing graphic novels.

    1. It is becoming quite obvious that the collection I have here is her first – I didn’t find it wordy at all. Her style evolves by the time Essential is published which makes perfect sense.

  4. I am old enough to remember when the strips from these collections were first serialized in gay newspapers across the country (maybe she is still drawing them?). In fact, back in the late 80s when Bechdel was still living in Minneapolis and I saw her at the gay pride festival and sheepishly went up and told her what a fan I was. The political bent was very much of its time when gays and lesbians were far more marginalized than we are now.

    1. Thank you for comment. I enjoyed the 80s references in the book. I think (while on a crazy summer internship) I went to a gay pride parade in WashDC in ’86. Those fun college days…

  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Care! If you ever get a chance to read The Essential… (the big complilation), I highly recommend it!!! It’s still all these wonderful little snippets, yet they somehow come together almost like a novel. I was just so immersed in the characters lives that I just sooooo wanted to be friends with them…and I was so sad when I came to end of the book.

  6. Last I checked my library didn’t have any of her books–which is weird because they’re good about stocking graphic novels and glbt works. Or, maybe I placed a hold and missed picking it up? I should check again. I might be able to actually finish a graphic novel (haven’t read a book in over a month).

    1. Goodness Ali! I can’t believe you haven’t read a book in so long! Not that I read ALL THE TIME – maybe it’s my pressure to get all my reading challenges done, but I am amazed how much I do read… and don’t think I’m shocked and disappointed in you or anything (do I ever feel bad about limited blogging time – uh, yea.)
      Hope you are having fun whatever you are doing. 🙂

      1. I can’t believe it either, but I’m okay with it. I think my brain needs to finish those last revisions on my novel before it allows any new stories in, if that makes sense.

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