Zine Review: Mend My Dress #5

16 October 2007

Zine cover - Mend My Dress #5

Subtitled “Girl love, girl revolution, stories of friendship”, Mend My Dress #5 is a joyous memoir of childhood friends and crushes:

monkey bars. she smelled like watermelon shampoo and dirt. she had soft brown eyes and she could run way faster than me. she never showed off. i fell in love with her as hard as a second grade girl can.

There are stories about wanting to be sisters, fits of schoolyard jealousy, playing in the garden and just “loving our days together”. There are stories about man pants and short hair, and thrift store adventures, and first kisses. It is impossible not to be swept up by the excitement in Neely’s voice as she describes her friends and the good times they shared.

Occasional references to dark events (the subject of earlier issues) make Mend My Dress #5 all the more interesting: these are the girls that helped Neely get through an incredibly difficult period of her life.

I’m reluctant to use the phrase “coming of age”, but it’s hard to avoid, since the zine covers friends from pre-school through to high school. Each represents a new level of maturity, but without preachy introspection. It doesn’t matter whether Neely’s writing about holding hands in pre-school or going to punk shows in high school, you can remember those feelings.

It is a rollicking read that will make you think about your own childhood friends — you’ll remember the stupid things you did together, and wonder what they’re up to now.

Neely Bat Chestnut, Mend My Dress #5, 1/2 size, 20 pages.
Available from Eye Candy.

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