Graphic Novel Review: The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parrish

The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parrish. Fantagraphics, 2019. 9781683960676. 123pp.

Cleary runs into Tim at the grocery store where she works. They hang out and catch up after her shift ends. Tim is getting married soon, to an older woman. Cleary is still working on her music, and a relationship with a man she was dating has just ended. They talk about an intense relationship she once had with a record producer that did not end well. They wander.

When Tim goes into a liquor store for a bottle of wine, Cleary reads an illustrated novella she finds outside the store, a book that claims to be about unconditional, everlasting love. At its center is a relationship that starts in a moment of honesty between the narrator (a strip club dancer) and a customer.

Tim and Cleary start drinking and talking. Things start feeling a little heavy when they discuss their same-sex relationships, and why they never got together. Tim’s difficulty in talking about being with men is obvious, and it makes the rest of their time together uncomfortable.

Despite this, the book is completely enjoyable. The conversation at its center feels honest and real, and Parish’s art is beautiful both in the main narrative (fully painted, colorful) and in the book within a book (black and white, masterfully inked). I’m going to recommend this to almost every adult I know.


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