Derek Kirk Kim, iIllustrated by Jesse Hamm,
Good as Lily
Minx / DC Comics, 2007.
"By the time Joan of Arc was 18, she had led an army . . . By the time Mozart was 18, he had written two operas . . . Me? I just learned how to cook ramen in the microwave." It isn't until the day she turns eighteen that exceptional things start to happen in Grace Kwon's life. That's the day Grace meets herself -- literally. Four-year-old Grace is whiny; Grace in her thirties is disillusioned and bitter; Grade as an old woman is cynical and angry. And all of them are bunking in Grace's bedroom with no signs of leaving. Keeping her selves a secret from her parents is less of a challenge for Grace than coming up with plausible identities for the threesome with her friends. When her twenty-nine-year -old self starts flirting with the drama teacher she has a crush on, Grace's already worn patience just about snaps. What is going on?
The answer is a lot in Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm's entertaining and insightful graphic novel. It turns out that each of Grace's four selves needs something: reassurance, encouragement. security, love. And each has the power to give and to receive if she will open her heart. Grace at eighteen has no idea how past events and present decisions can impact the future, but Grace as an old woman does, and it is her elder self who plays the biggest role in opening Grace's eyes to everything she has going for her, from loving parents (Grace has felt inadequate since the death of her older sister, Lily, when she was young) to wonderful friends, one of whom has the potential to be much more. The characterizations and humor in Good as Lily have a wonderful edge in a satisfying story that offers depth and delight.