On Loving Women is a collection of stories about first love and sexual identity. Diane Obomsawin shares her friends’ and lovers’ personal accounts of coming into their queerness or first finding love with another woman. Each story is a master class in reaching the emotional truth of a situation; Obomsawin’s stripped-down linework expressively reveals yearning, apprehension, heartbreak, and joy.
From: The back cover
Notes on This Title
This graphic novel contains ten short narratives, from Obomsawin’s interviews with nine of her friends, ages thirty to seventy. It was adapted into an 8-minute animated film titled I Like Girls.
On Loving Women depicts semi-graphic sexual situations, non-graphically describes a sexual experience between minors, and depicts a sexual relationship between a fifteen-year-old and an adult.
“On Loving Women would fit well with any public or academic libraries’ graphic collection. The book is accessible to adult readers and those curious about adult graphic stories. The differences and common threads in the realization of same-sex attraction could also make a good book club read or discussion group.” (Source: ALA Rainbow Round Table)
“And yet, this is not a collection of innocent love stories. On Loving Women keeps the graphic in graphic novel. Obomsawin’s characters get naked and they do not shy away from sex scenes. A refreshing change since, more often than not, lesbian sex is either dismissed or eroticized. Within these pages it’s real, with that same awkward, naïve sheen of everyone’s first time.” (Source: The Austin Chronicle)
“Even though this graphic novel is a quick read, the stories stay with you because you feel like you were all of the women in this book. After reading On Loving Women I was left feeling nostalgic and wistful. It brought me back to the days when you finally start to fall into your real skin – and how that can be simultaneously painful and wonderful.” (Source: Book By Its Cover)
“Most striking, Obomsawin decidedly invokes a risky medium to enrich the honesty of her narrators’ voices: the cliché. And even more, she does so un-ironically. Phrases such as ‘It was love at first sight’ and ‘It hit me like a thunderbolt’ stand alone without the usual protective coating of self-deprecation. Obomsawin resists the urge to portray romantic euphoria as an object to be broken down and studied. Her treatment is anti-philosophical: she gives young love the space to breathe its long, dramatic sighs. Each individual story is numbered with its own set of pages, raising its contents to the status of a novella. Obomsawin’s On Loving Women, in all of its empathy and vulnerability, is a solvent against sarcasm. To every reader who has been in love, if even for a moment, her work confirms this: if it meant the world at the time, it should mean the world in your memory.” (Source: Cleaver Magazine)
“Most don’t follow a traditional narrative structure – there’s not much conflict or rising drama, no dramatic climaxes or resolutions… it feels like you’ve sat down in a café with a new friend as they share their wistful, funny, sexy, embarrassing and heartbreaking experiences of the first time they fell in love, had sex with a woman (or two), worried about being ‘found out’, crushed on teachers or high school friends or stole their brother’s girlfriend.” (Source: Curve)
“True love isn’t usually associated with minimalism. It isn’t usually associated with little animal heads, either, and yet Montreal artist Diane ‘Obom’ Obomsawin manages to make all three work together just splendidly in her graphic novel On Loving Women. It’s more like a graphic collection of short stories, actually: Obomsawin illustrates a dozen or so different women’s accounts of how they first fell in love with other women, or girls — all of whom have, you guessed it, little animal heads.” (Source: NPR)
“Obomsawin doesn’t seem interested in focusing on oppression and prejudice in the foreground, but you can see the progress that has been made in current events, like when Canadian Olympians deliberately associate themselves with gay rights. Mostly, these are fairly simple, straightforward accounts of exactly what the title conveys, and although they don’t go very deep, they accumulate a kind of sweetness with each wide-eyed realization depicted.” (Source: Paste Magazine)
“The true strength of this book is its relevance for every type of family, and especially for adolescents. On Loving Women belongs in every high-school library – as a talking point about the universality of love, to say nothing of the versatility of comics art.” (Source: Quill & Quire)
“Obomsawin’s dual French and Quebec backgrounds are evident in the settings of the stories: convent schools, village scenes and urban gay bars all register that we are in francophone locales where Catholicism and the traditional nuclear family are being confronted by feminism, LGBT rights and youth culture. Helge Daschers’ translation of the text is fluid and idiomatic, so that it is only through the visuals that we may recognize the cultural and geographic setting as distinctly French.” (Source: Winnipeg Free Press)