Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San. Image Comics, 2018. 9781534307506. 80pp.
The story of Elle and her soulmate, Mari, opens in a home for seniors in 2038 (Elle is telling her story to a young woman who needs to hear it) and quickly flashes back to the day in 1963 when Elle first saw Mari. They’re best friends for years, and for a while Elle doesn’t know how to talk about her feelings for Mari. And then it becomes clear to everyone that they love each other in a way they’re not supposed to, which freaks their church-going families out. Mari is sent away to get married. Elle’s father makes her marry James the following year, and they start a family when he gets back from Vietnam. And the thing is it’s an amazing family, and they’re as happy as they can be without actually being in love. So when Elle finally meets Mari again (after quite a few decades of marriage), it’s clear to both of them what they’ve been missing. (This isn’t a spoiler if you look at the cover before you open the book.)
It’s a joyous, colorful, well told story full of love and hope. I don’t normally like framing stories in this “let me tell you about the past” way but it works here, and there’s a secondary reason for it that becomes clear at the end of the book. All in all this book is delightful, and I can’t imagine a public library in the world that shouldn’t have a graphic novel about grandmas in love on its shelves.)