In this vulnerable autobiographical follow-up to Kabi’s surprise-hit debut manga, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Kabi writes to her past self: “Dear Nagata Kabi, hello. This is Nagata Kabi.” She updates herself on new events, shares deep and not-so-deep thoughts, and frequently panics over her messy life. Compared to the previous manga, this sequel is looser, with less of the driving, neurotic urgency that distinguished Loneliness. Kabi is still struggling to understand sex and love, still dominated by her disapproving parents, still awkwardly learning how to be an adult—but circumstances are slowly becoming less dire. She moves into her own apartment and even goes on a nervous first date. All these developments are illustrated in Kabi’s distinctive sketchy, high-energy art, with her cartoon avatar appearing as a cute, spindly figure with big worried eyes. She depicts her inner conflicts with fanciful visuals: when she discovers that her mom has read her comics, for example, a rope squeezes her heart. While it feels less essential than its predecessor, fans will be eager to check in on Kabi and cheer for her floundering movements toward happiness.
Critical acclaim for My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness:
Honored in The Advocate‘s Best LGBT Graphics Novels of 2017, the NPR Guide to 2017’s Great Reads, and the Publishers Weekly Best Books 2017.
“While the subject matter is by no means light, this moving and honest slice of life will resonate with anyone who has questioned themselves or ever been conflicted in their lives. And let’s face it: that is all of us.” — Judith Utz, Teen Vogue
“The self-discovery that follows is utterly fascinating.” — Abraham Riesman, Vulture
“Sheds light on the complicated emotional and mental dynamics involved in lesbian relationships. Her story is an open, honest, and deeply personal look at her struggles to fight back against her eating disorder, stop self-harming, and learn more about her sexuality.” — Ana Valens, The Mary Sue
“…this is a comic that (a) treats sex workers with dignity and agency in a medium which has been historically unkind, (b) addresses very real themes of self-harm in a direct and honest way, and (c) adopts an attitude of complete acceptance of sexuality fluidity.” — Katie Skelly, The Comics Journal
“My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is one of the most powerful manga I have ever read, and it all comes down to Nagata Kabi’s openness and honesty.” — Nik Freeman, Anime News Network
“No question, absolutely, my pick this week is My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, which was simply one of the best autobiographical manga I’ve read.” — Sean Gaffney, Manga Bookshelf
“A complicated play of gender and sexual identities that Nagata unbinds and sorts through with striking aesthetic aplomb. ” — Shea Hennum, The A. V. Club
“It’s impossible not to shed tears while reading this work; Nagata’s unflinching honesty is courageous, but the reason it resonates is because it parses experiences many of her readers have, but have never been able to give voice to. Nagata gave voice to her experience and that has allowed her readers to realize they are not alone.” — Hans Rollman, Pop Matters
About the Author
Nagata Kabi is a manga artist best known for her autobiographical comic My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.
Top customer reviews
If you want a emotional punch in the gut, Nagata Kabi’s work is for you. She rarely pulls punches or hesitates to catalogue her life in all its nitty gritty detail. It is honest, raw and far more real than most autobio comics get. If you’ve ever dealt with depression, struggled to prove your worth to your peers or parents, or feel whole this comic is very much something you should read. It doesn’t have a ‘narratively’ satisfying ending (given its auto-bio comic, thats not surprising) but it makes you think about your own life. Seeing Nagata Kabi struggle makes you think about your own struggles and getting that ball rolling is usually more than enough to change aspects of your life.
Her artwork has improved by leaps and bounds since her first book, you can see and feel the confidence in her linework without it losing that loose almost sketchy artwork that drew me in originally. She has a strong grasp on details without it ever dragging down her sense of movement or the mood she wants to convey. She experiments with depicting her emotional state more with images/visual short hand than plainly telling us this time, which works fantastically. I still find myself going back to the pages where her parents find out about her first book and linger on how she handled it.
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to make a life for themselves and wanting to find solace with someone else who understands.
No matter how you feel about the author, there’s no denying that this is a story of complete brutal honesty and emotion that hooks you in from beginning to end. As someone who suffers with anxiety and who has suffered from depression in the past, I completely relate to everything she feels — even things I would probably never admit outloud or even to myself.
The story is in a diary format, covering day to day experiences and changes going on in her life. There are some times where it’s a little hard to follow given the lack of concrete dates for when things are happening, but that also helps in that you aren’t thinking too hard about how much time has passed.
The art is also consistently great, with the sketchy style and occasional switch from color to black and white really helping you to get a feel for the mood the artist is going for.