If you’ve heard of Kabi Nagata’s books and avoided them because they were described as manga and that summoned visions of Naruto, you can rest easy and call them illustrator memoirs, which they most definitely are. There is a strong tradition in European graphic literature of using illustration with personal stories, using art to supplement words to communicate emotion that prose alone might struggle with. The delicate lines of Nagata’s works fit well within this tradition. Each thin line looks as ready to break as her emotional state.

Also, if you’ve avoided her writing because it’s Japanese and you feel that is some mysterious foreign realm of experience you can dismiss that too. It is an urban country of the 21st century and the personal experiences of someone who feels isolated, unable to connect and even more so for not being normal resonate with people of so many countries in today’s world. All of this is to say her issues are very relatable. Even as a straight man so much of her story spoke to me. While she has struggled with alcoholism and her identity, neither a struggle of mine, the underlying emotions that drove them I think a great many of us can identify with.

This isn’t a proper review. I’m not sure I can recommend reading this but in pride month I think you should. It’s a hard read and at times painful. In her writing she makes herself completely vulnerable. I’m not going to tell you why it is good. I’m not sure I’m qualified to. Several times while reading it I had to stop and center myself. But don’t read it because it is good, read it because it is powerful.

So, what am I discussing? I started this review of sorts to discuss My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, which is very appropriate for pride month. But I also have to recommend My Alcoholic Escape from Reality, though trigger warnings abound. As the child of an alcoholic some of it hit really close to home. She has a number of other works as well, all of them are on my to be read pile but spaced out. Some things – even brilliant writing – can only be taken in doses.

Check out her books here: Seven Seas Entertainment


The door to Leto's quarters. You can see his face through the round ship's window.

Leto Armitage was born in America under a set of circumstances that prophesied that he would one day unite the lost tribes and return the Ever Summer. Somewhere around twelve, he realized he had been left unsupervised and binged too many Arthurian movies in his formative years and that he was just another kid who accidentally got an education while reading above his age level.

By the time he turned old enough to get a passport, he started finding excuses to travel determined to find out what culture, food and women there were to experience. After learning to grill in Oaxaca, do kinbaku in Japan, and being banned from several former Soviet block countries, he returned home to settle down and see what damage he could do locally.

After working jobs including being a short order cook, bodyguarding strippers and professionally doing reader’s advisory for erotica he realized the most reasonable path forward was to become a writer. Today he lives with cats, dogs, and humans who seem to like him despite actually knowing him. He prefers to sit on his back deck, listening to the birds and Barry the Bumblebear bee, while he writes cozy, uplit romance and raunchy erotica.


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