Love (Not Actually)

Love Addict.jpg

Love Addict: Confessions of a Serial Dater by Koren Shadmi. Top Shelf, 2016. 9781603093934.

Publisher’s Rating: For Mature Readers.

(I’m writing this in part because Sarah couldn’t stand this book, and I consider that a challenge.)

After an intense breakup, K is planning on a year of loneliness until another woman comes along and takes pity on him. But his friends try to convince him that it’s okay to hook up with women for sex, and get him signed up for an online dating site. Soon he’s sleeping with all kinds of different women, and enjoying himself quite a bit. But he’s also becoming a shallow asshole.

This has a very different tone from Jeffrey Brown’s first graphic novels, which were mostly stories of his bad relationships, but they have something in common in terms of how revealing they are about the misery of dating. And I loved Shadmi’s art, which looks as if he drew the whole thing with a cheap blue Bic pen before adding very muted colors with a computer. (I recently read his surreal and un-book-talkable The Abaddon, which at first seems to be about people in an apartment building with no way out. Are the people there dead? Or is something weirder going on? Either way, it’s full of even more relentlessly strange colors and textures than this book.)

Sarah:  K probably shares substance abuse and risk-taking problems with his train-wreck of a roomie. Everyone in this book, including the parade of women the two date, are my nightmares. This book makes me want to never ever date another human being again. And did I mention the near-rape? I’m willing to believe that Shadmi knows this behavior is atrocious, but K sure doesn’t. If the sign of great art is provoking a reaction, consider me provoked, but I’m not going to pick up another book like this one.

Gene: I may give this to my teenager daughter to keep her from dating for the next few years. I disagree with none of what Sarah said, but the book is very readable in a “I’m glad this isn’t my train wreck” way. And the art is fab.