Welcome to an autobiography from another dimension. A wildly inventive cartoonist begins her imaginary memoir — exploring the girlhood she never had.
Many LGBTQ adults look back on their youth and wonder: what might have been? Growing up “in the closet” tends to produce a sort of double identity, between the inner self and the self seen by the outside world. Now, cartoonist Axelle Lenoir, in her unpredictable and imaginative way, makes this metaphor real.
Secret Passages, narrated by the adult author, begins with the death of her (male) “cosmic twin.” From there it launches into a rollicking ride of childhood antics, set in 1985 small-town Québec. We get to know Axelle (a rebellious little girl who dreads Grade 1 and is captivated by the spooky forest near the house), her brothers (who share her off-the-charts enthusiasm for cartoons and toys), and their long-suffering parents (who may or may not be aliens).
These lively comic-strip style anecdotes, reminiscent of Calvin & Hobbes and packed full of pop-culture parodies, are juxtaposed with surreal twists as Axelle’s existential crisis mutates the narrative, building to a mind-bending climax.