*May Contain Spoilers*
Justine Prado, Jenn St--Onge, Carey Pietsch (and others) all play their part in creating the comic book/graphic novel that is Finding Molly. This graphic novel is all about Molly discovering herself as an artist, balancing on the cusp of adulthood, while trying to create her own path to her dreams. The book is published by EMET Comics, a company that focuses on women's empowerment and adding diversity to a generally male guided genre.
Molly is a young woman who has just graduated art school. She dreams of moving to downtown LA to live with her friends, who are also artists. The only problem is she isn't making any money as a recent graduate, something I think a lot of young adults can relate to. Molly is an intelligent girl who struggles to find inspiration for her art work among the stress of wanting to move out and find a paying job so she can support herself. She's consistently nagged by her father to find a job and a husband. Though her father knows she's talented, he doesn't want Molly wasting any time. This adds an interesting father-daughter dynamic as he sets her up on dates with unsavory young men.
Though Molly isn't a big fan of cats (at the beginning), cat-sitting kind of falls into her lap as a way to make money. A drawing of her own family's pet is seen online and she's immediately contacted by a fellow cat owner to commission a drawing. This opens the door for Molly's cat-sitting business venture. I think this will translate to many readers as young adults, even those fresh out of college, sometimes have to work jobs that are not aligned with their degree. I know I had to and still am as I work on my Master's. This creates a pretty strong foundation on which a deep character connection with Molly can be established. As Molly works to pursue her artistic dreams, readers see the chaos that cat-sitting can bring. We all know that cats each have their own distinct personalities (I sometimes refer to my cat as a demon) and the situations that Molly finds herself in because of her cat-sitting add a great deal of humor to the graphic novel.
There are also two other dynamic relationships that work to bring readers closer to Molly. Sarahh, Molly's best friend, is also an artist who has a successful job and an on-and-off boyfriend. From Molly's perspective, Sarahh kind of has it all, which gives off a sort of jealous vibe. Sarahh is also very blunt with Molly, challenging her and pushing her to follow her dreams. The second dynamic relationship is that between Molly and Mateo. Mateo is a well known LA artist who has a strong place in Molly's group of friends. It's also very obvious that Mateo has a crush on Molly, though she doesn't seem to actually realize it. This adds a little intrigue to the story as well as another layer of depth to Molly's life.
My favorite thing about this graphic novel was Molly's web comic that is featured every few pages. In the web comic, Molly creates a humorous scene out of her cat-sitting adventures as well as her interactions with friends and parents. The way that Molly interprets her own life and creates funny work out of stressful situations lets readers see into her psyche. It demonstrates her positive outlook on life even though she's struggling to find her way as an adult and as an artist.
Speaking of art work, the style that Finding Molly has is refreshing and bold. Each character has their own specific traits that the work seems to focus on, allowing readers to see the personalities of the characters through their artistic representations. There are also some allusions within the book which speak to certain readers. I personally loved the reference to the Beat movement, because I recognize my own obsession with that culture and am not ashamed.
Finding Molly definitely works to showcase young women and empower them through opportunity and drive. The fact that it does this with humor and creativity will help the book resonate with female readers. For readers who enjoy female focused stories of achievement, art and creativity, and of course cats, I would definitely recommend Finding Molly.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups