Kim: A Novel IdeaFrankie Barnet
I am always watching TV in America, even when a screen is not near me. Since moving here, I have been developing narratives out of each sound I hear, each piece of moving light I see. All shadows. That light here, the breeze there, if I put them together with the birds in the yard and the cars down the boulevard, couldn’t that be meaningful? I am trying to learn from them, from anything.
Kim: A Novel Idea is a graphic literary novel about a lonely millennial named Frankie, her boyfriend Jacob, their talking cat Catman, and an unhealthy obsession with Kim Kardashian. Faced with the difficulties of her life, scrolling through photos of an uber-celebrity and talking to her cat is the only way Frankie knows how to cope—through fantasy and escape.
Exploring politics—personal, political, social—to comment on feminism, the #MeToo movement, fame, abuse of power within university writing programs, intergenerational wealth, love, and our multiple selves, there is something lovable about Frankie’s insufferable attitude towards life; something deeply relatable about her self-doubt in convincing herself she’s “never going to make anything of my goddamn, pathetic life.” Why? Because Frankie is stuck in a capitalist cycle of celebrity marketing rings that target young women’s insecurities about their bodies and accomplishments. Kim: A Novel Idea gives us insight into the downfalls of contemporary living while asking: are digital identities the cure, or the poison to waking life? And, what is the value in distracting ourselves from our own very real lives?
Los Angeles Review of Books – Graphic Medicine: Comics Redraw Health Narratives
The Ex-Puritan – “Whether the dream where she rescues her boyfriend from grief’s pool, or the ‘thousand pictures of Kim Kardashian’ she drew to keep her hands moving through depression’s idle water, this is a book clearly, to me, about survival—not the acute kind, but the languorous hush of one more day. Page to page, in the way this book cuts and scrambles, deflates and defers, one feels the thin derangement of a life where nothing seems to happen, where yourself is the talk of the town in your head. This is the book’s draining hypnotism and its strength.”
Vallum Magazine – A Conversation With Frankie Barnet – “Through dry humour, playful visuals and immense vulnerability, Barnet lays bare the inextricable nature of grief, love, and loneliness.”