Review: Blue Monday: The Kids Are Alright


Blue Monday Vol. 1
The Kids Are Alright

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This is sort of half-review, half-revisit. One of my former roommates loved Chynna Clugston and had several volumes of Blue Monday around. I probably read The Kids are Alright for the first time six years ago and enjoyed it, but I kind of forgot about it. Then a friend left it for me and I decided to see if it was what I remembered.

I was a young teenager in the early 1990s, but I was a bit more of the introspective grunge/goth mode than the cool mod kids featured here. Still, I can obviously identify with the time period.

This time around, reading it, it struck me as a little dated. I think some things are pretty timeless — Clugston’s manga-inspired art is likable and animated and her teenagers are the right mix of vulgar and innocent — but I felt a little old for it and I was wondering if the audience who would get the most out of this book now would have any clue who Adam Ant is or why Bleu would care so much about seeing him in concert (I do not underestimate teenagers’ knowledge of history, pop culture or otherwise, but today’s teenagers were still toddlers when Adam Ant’s Wonderful came out. I just wonder how much they’d actually care). I guess the storyline that six years ago felt a little bit more immediate just feels sort of irrelevant now.

Still, there’s a lot I like about this book. The girls trashing their friends’ house is a fun sequence and the implausible slapstick keeps things light, as is the teasing interplay between the girls and the boys. This definitely reminds me of how my high school friends and I interacted with each other. Clugston paces her story well and the page layouts are inventive. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t as entertaining as I remember it.

For me, it works as a nostalgia piece — reminding me of when I was a teen, and also the state of mind I was in when I first read it — but it doesn’t do anything for me now.

I’m glad, though, that Clugston is revisiting these characters in new Blue Monday stories. They’re great characters. But they’re maybe just not for me at this point in my life.

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