At 32 Crabapple is a lion for her own cause — ferocious and feminist, hardworking and weepy — a new model for this century’s young woman. Her next creations, whatever they are, will surely be urgent, celebratory and livid. We can’t wait.
Crabapple is smart and wicked and wicked smart, a master of imagery and perception, and so her art always works on multiple levels. So too the book. She’s not afraid to provide contradictory thoughts and feelings, even on the same page, but it’s more than that.
One of the most striking things about Drawing Blood is how often Crabapple expresses uncertainty and self-doubt. Nevertheless, she continues not only to create, but to amplify the most silenced voices among us, producing portraits of prisoners, protestors, refugees. Out of her childhood scribbling grew the power to make an adult difference.
It's certainly a vivid personal history, and Crabapple does well painting her scenes (pun so very much intended), but the overall voice and focus of the writing didn't do it for me ... I never felt that the book moved past this early mode of recitation, though. To be fair, Crabapple does an excellent job of maintaining her casual and inviting tone even when discussing difficult subjects like rape, racism, and run-ins with the police.