Graphic Novel Review: The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams

The Lady Doctor by Ian Williams. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019. 9780271083742. 249pp. (mostly duotone).

Dr. Lois Pritchard is dealing with a lot. The other doctors she works with want her to become a partner, but she’s not sure that’s right for her. The National Health Service may soon be privatized (or at least partially so). One of her patients keeps hounding her for the pills he’s addicted to, her mother, who she hasn’t spoken to for 20 years, is suddenly trying to contact her and there are always more and more patients. These include an exhausting array of repeat offenders like the local Casanova who’s spreading STIs, and the guy with the Pinocchio tattoo on his junk. Dr. Pritchard worries she’s too cold, frequently drinks with a friend to unwind, and makes many mistakes but along the way does a great deal of good.

This story is really well balanced and human, and I particularly loved Williams’ use of color, but the patient interactions were my favorite bits. Librarians everywhere will relate to the daily craziness Dr. Pritchard is a part of, and I think they’ll be as happy as I am that no one is required to disrobe while visiting the library (though some, of course, choose to do so anyway).

Williams is a medical doctor and artist who also wrote and illustrated The Bad Doctor (great book!), coauthored the Graphic Medicine Manifesto, and co-edits the Graphic Medicine series that this book is a part of.


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