Zine Review: Mrs Noggle #1

15 August 2007

Mrs Noggle #1 cover

This little 24-hour perzine bears a MySpace-ish cover photo, which made me a little wary of its contents, but the inclusion of excerpts from Jolie’s diary spanning a six month period gives it unexpected depth. Mrs Noggle #1 is the story of Jolie’s reconciliation with her best friend Jamie Noggle, who she ultimately weds.

The journal-style format and a blur of family and friends’ names enhance the sense that the reader is looking through a narrow window into Jolie’s life. When we read that

SOMEONE called joaquin’s from jamie’s house. I could only assume it was kishtra trying to get ahold of joaquin. … both him [Joaquin] & joseph are still friends with him [Jamie]-BIG DEAL!

…it’s hard to keep up with who’s who, but that slight sense of confusion helps to highlight one of the zine’s strengths. If we know the web of relationships is complex, we can better appreciate Jolie’s difficult task in navigating them. Mrs Noggle #1 is at its strongest when it explores these fraught interconnections between friends, ex-boyfriends, romantic rivals and love interests in a small social circle.

There is also an entertaining Punch & Judy aspect to it. We cheer when the goodies (Jolie and Jamie) take another step towards each other, or when the baddies (chiefly Jamie’s ex, Kishtra) get their comeuppance. Sometimes, though, this tips over into triumphalism, such as in the final LiveJournal message to Tim: “you are the most pathetic person in the world (besides Kishtra of course)”.

Consquently, there is a nagging sense that this zine was published mainly for Kishtra’s benefit, to publicly remind her that Jamie married Jolie instead. At these points, it is difficult to maintain empathetic with Jolie, and it’s disappointing that the zine ended on such a sour note rather than with the joy of her marriage to Mr Noggle.

On the whole, though, this zine is an intriguing read. The couple’s initial reluctant estrangement is sad, Jamie’s persistence is charming, and Jolie’s nervous anticipation is exciting:

once i had sent that message to jamie on myspace i felt antsy & nervous about seeing him again. i didn’t know if it would be akward or if i would get upset about something and kick him out…i just didn’t know what was gonna happen!

A “summer whirlwind of happiness and good times” carries the reader along with Jolie and Jamie to their early wedding. We finish up hoping they can break free of the petty jealousies of their social group, and confident they can make a go of their new lives together as Mr and Mrs Noggle.

Jolie Noggle, Mrs Noggle #1, 1/4 size, 32 pages.
Available from Mrs Noggle Publishing.

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