Knisley’s honesty and willingness to inspect her own behavior has long been one of the best parts of her work, and with each book that only becomes more necessary ... She’s gentle with herself when it comes to her negative emotions, but forthright about her own shortcomings and the challenges she faced with her loved ones throughout the experience ... While Knisley’s honesty about both the best and worst parts of pregnancy are compelling, what elevates the book to a must-read for those who want kids or love people who do is the context in which she places her personal experience. She outlines the misogynistic and deeply racist history of gynecology in fittingly serious and irate language, her frustration palpable and powerful. Knisley’s own traumatizing birth experience is made all the more terrifying knowing just how common that type of experience is for so many people ... Readers that are familiar with Knisley’s work will appreciate the sometimes subtle ways that her artistic skill has grown and changed as she has published her life in comic form. Although her linework is simple and feels soft thanks to its round shapes, it never feels too cartoony or overblown. Her talent in capturing likenesses is especially clear in her illustrations of her mother, husband, and Pal, and there are some exaggerated expressions that she uses to great comedic effect throughout the book, helping to cut up the heavier and harder subjects. The best way to describe Knisley’s work is human and gentle, both with the creator and the reader. The book is a reminder of how hard and rewarding it can be to grow a family, and feels like a call to action when it comes to obstetrics and gynecology’s slow erasure of parental health.
While it’s still accurate to describe Knisley as a memoirist, I now think that a different label makes much more sense, especially with Kid Gloves and her previous book, Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride. Knisley is an essayist. Like Joan Didion and Roxane Gay, Knisley often works towards a thesis and richly illustrates it with examples from her own life. And Knisley illustrates her essays in every sense. Knisley has always communicated directly with the reader through narration boxes, rarely telling the story through scenes and dialogue. The word bubbles spoken by Lucy the character serve as a second layer of commentary ... The rich emotional range she displays in her comics, as well as the realistic but simple clear-line cartooning, remind me of Kate Beaton and Carol Tyler. Knisley has always had a real aptitude for drawing people. In Kid Gloves, she reaches new heights of visual metaphor ... extremely personal, but Knisley has been preparing to be this vulnerable for nearly two decades ... a good read, full of pieces that work on their own while telling the story of Knisley’s pregnancy. It may be prone to tangents, but it’s very likely to have a real impact on readers.
... poignant, as painful experiences are interspersed with moments of humorous and tender truth ... Part memoirist, part journalist, Knisley maintains an exquisite dance between the personally idiosyncratic and the medically relevant. From ultrasound visits to epidural shots, Knisley builds expertly to a dramatic labor — even enlisting her husband to recall one episode she has no memory of. That scene’s visual effect is rendered without color, lending it a power distinct from all the bright, 'clean-line' art. Readers can hope that Knisley — also the author of the charming Relish — will follow up this brilliant work with memoirs about early parenthood and beyond.