I love Sarah’s Scribbles.
Sarah Andersen has been doodling the thoughts of everyone maturing as a late Gen-X’er/early-millennial since 2011. Starting as a web comic, Andersen captures vignettes of life focused around a singular female protagonist who more-or-less wakes up one day to realize she needs to Adult. Properly Adult. And she just is NOT prepared for this. Not only is she clueless as to how adulting happens, but she suffers from social anxiety, body image issues, and sloth. Through a series of comics where Andersen compares our protagonist’s experiences to the expectations of others, we get to watch her grow, develop, and attempt to cope with what life throws at her. I have constantly found myself returning to Andersen’s works in times of emotional strife. Because, as you’ll see shortly, they help me realize that I am not alone. I was never alone.
Sarah Andersen’s comics have been produced since 2011, but only published as a web comic since 2013. Big Mushy Happy Lump is Andersen’s second published collection. Her first collection, Adulthood is a Myth follows a similar structure. Both books feature predominantly single comics per page. Each comic is easy to follow and is well drawn black and white in Anderson’s unique and strangely adorable style. This makes them easy to consume and I flew through the 132 pages of Big Mushy Happy Lump.
I can relate to a TON of these comics. Specifically, every single one focused on reading, such as How I Spend My Money:
…or experiencing my period, such as:
…or focused on relationships, such as Alternative Boyfriend Uses:
…or focused on self-esteem, such as Why Female Friendships are Important:
But the cool thing about Big Mushy Happy Lump is that there is also a collection of illustrated personal essays. This is a direction I haven’t seen Andersen take before. And I’ve been following her for years! In these, Andersen reveals a bit more of the experiences in her life which influence and inspire her comics. While I always assumed that she based these comics on her own personal experiences, I’ve never seen Andersen be so open about the anxieties which really plague her life. Andersen reveals a lot of personal situations; I am so proud of her strength, and how she uses humor to explain and share these situations. Mental struggles have been taboo for so long, it’s always refreshing to see an author put themselves out there to share and let the world know: This okay. This is who I am. And while it can be hard, that’s totally normal. It provides me an avenue to develop empathy for others suffering in similar situations.
Even without the illustrated essays, Big Mushy Happy Lump is a wonderful collection of self-deprecating joy coupled with life lessons. No longer do you have to suffer your humiliations or awkward moments alone. Now, with Sarah Andersen’s wonderful comics, you too can laugh at how we all really just feel the same inside. If you are unfamiliar with Sarah Andersen’s works, I strongly encourage you to check them all out.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinions of this book. Check out Andrews McMeel Publishing and Sarah Andersen on their respective websites for more information.
What do you think?
- Are you familiar with Sarah Amderson’s works? What about her comics do you like/not like?
- Do you like to read comics? In what format do you prefer to read them?
- Do you enjoy personal essays? What about illustrated personal essays?