Reviewing: Be Everything At Once by Dami Lee

We’ll start from the very beginning, with my uplifting story as an immigrant child overcoming diversity by inadvertently making my peers cry. The same language barrier will come back to haunt me when I return to Korea as an adult, and realize I should have saved some space in my brain for remembering how to speak Korean instead of filling it up with all 150 Pokemon names.

Be Everything at Once is an immensely charming series of autobiographical comics from artist Dami Lee, and I loved it. As you’ll know from my review of Sarah Graley’s Our Super Adventure, I love comics about relatable human weirdness. It it my firm belief that everyone is a bit weird, and anyone that claims otherwise is a liar (or just extremely dull). Weird is good, embrace your weird.

Also, I apologise in advance for the wonkiness of the images – I am not good at photography.

Be Everything at Once follows Dami Lee from childhood to adulthood, exploring the complexities of being an immigrant at a young age, how being bilingual opens up an entirely new world of shopping, and how Pokémon unites us all.

(I have latently discovered Pokémon more as an adult than as a child. I couldn’t afford the trading cards, and it’s hard to get TV time when you have four siblings, I know very little about most of them but I do have an Eevee on my Pokemon Go named after our dog).

Literally me trying to accurately identify any Pokémon.

As someone who considered moving a few hours away from home to University a ‘big move’ I found it incredibly interesting seeing the experience of Dami Lee’s moving from Korea to America, then back, then back again. ‘Too American’ for Korea and ‘too Korean’ for America, we see young Dami navigate the grey area between these identities and grow to gradually embrace both with pride.

Same, Dami, same.

I love the art style of these comics, it’s super cute and makes me happy, and some of them are INCREDIBLY RELATABLE such as this one:

And let us not forget the most accurate depiction of the internet ever to exist in comic form:

These comics make me smile, some of them outright made me laugh, and I want a pink fried-egg jumper. There are written interludes from Lee herself, introducing us all to a new theme or part of her life, and I thought they really enriched the reading experience. I tend to read graphic novels and comics very quickly, and it was nice to pause and have a little read every now and then of some text just to keep me alert. Plus there’s a very funny part about the nature of compromise using skorts as an example.

Can we bring those back? I like skirts, but I also like breeze-protection and pockets. I just end up wearing shorts under skirts and in summer I am a melty blob.

This book was a delight to read, and it was lovely to get to know more about a comic artist I’ve seen and followed online and find out a bit more about what inspired her to draw.

Overall rating: 5 books out of 5

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