About Betty’s Boob

Writer: Vero Cazot
Illustrator: Julie Rocheleau
Translator: Edward Gauvin
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Review by Anelise Farris

About Betty’s Boob is, as the title suggests, about Betty and her boob—or rather the boob she loses due to a mastectomy. This story explores the complex life changes that Betty has to deal with after her surgery. Rather than just a simple one-and-done procedure, a mastectomy is a complicated, reality-changing process. Moreover, it doesn’t just affect Betty’s physical self. Mentally, or psychologically, she now has a different relationship to her body—framed chiefly by conventional beauty standards. And, it doesn’t help that Betty’s boyfriend is also having a hard time adjusting to her new form.

As someone who has had a lot of cancer in her family—especially among women—I appreciate how About Betty’s Boob approaches the intricacies of cancer and the changes it brings about for the individual’s mind-body, as well as their loved ones. Because words often fail at capturing such experience-based narratives, it was smart of the creative team to rely largely on wordless panels. The writing is minimal—mainly sound effects—which I also think was a great idea because it imbues the narrative with such an emotional tension.

The art does a tremendous job of balancing both the objective reality of what is going on in Betty’s life, as well as the subjective way that Betty is experiencing the world post-operation. The rough linework and crosshatching create depth, while the soft blues and reds keep the story just light enough to digest in one sitting. While we jump around from the prosthetic breast store to the gym locker-room to the bedroom to witness Betty’s new lifestyle, there are enough connective threads to make it feel like a cohesive story. One of the threads that I find particularly affecting is the parallel of the apple with her boob. It highlights how things take on new meanings after certain experiences.

Verdict: Buy it.

About Betty’s Boob is a moving look at how life changes post-mastectomy. It might seem irrational to react so strongly to losing one part of you if it means your life is saved, but this story really captures how the mind-body processes such trauma. Additionally, although this is an emotionally-charged story, there is enough humor and moments of joy to make it a suitable (rather than triggering) read for those that have been affected by breast cancer.

Anelise Farris
Anelise is an english professor with a love for old buildings, dusty tomes, black turtlenecks, and all things macabre and odd.

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