One of the Guys is a two-volume, autobiographical graphic novel chronicling the author’s seventh and eighth grade years as one of six girls at Kentridge Academy, an all-boys’ school in Western Massachusetts. The narrative grapples with themes commonly found in the coming of age novel, such as angst, growth, and the desire to fit into a particular social environment. While Volume I focuses primarily on the author’s first year at Kentridge, Volume II is concerned with the process of gathering information on the school and recording other students’ experiences there. The second volume contains three interviews: two with other girls who attended the school before and after the author, respectively, and one with a boy who was there during Holmberg’s seventh and eighth grade years. The interviews reveal the similarities and differences between the author’s experience and those of her peers. While each account of their Kentridge years is unique, the interviewees shared feelings of isolation, alienation, and independence. These feelings are also the common thread linking the interviewees to the author and ultimately help her realize that she was not as alone as she had originally believed.
While Volume I of One of the Guys had the DIY aesthetic of a zine, Volume II is more text-heavy, with a much more polished and design-oriented appearance. The drawings in Volume II are also less contained and more expressive. The layout also reflects this looseness, as many of the drawings are not constrained within the boxes typically used in comic arts. Each interviewee’s response is given a distinct typeface, emphasizing the variety of voices within the narrative, similar to Robert Massin’s The Bald Soprano. Additionally, each interview section is in a gray tone, lending the book a strong sense of rhythm and pacing.
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