Drawn Together: Illustrated True Love Stories

Cartoonist and New Yorker contributor Olivia de Recat begins Drawn Together: Illustrated True Love Stories like so: "For as long as I can remember, I've been primarily obsessed with two things: making art, and finding love." De Recat may not have succeeded at her second goal (give her time, though, she's just "standing on the outskirts of my 20s"), but her winsomely illustrated debut decisively marks the achievement of her first ambition.

Though Drawn Together features autobiographical observations and quips, it's much less a memoir than a work of sociology. The bulk of the text centers on the dozen-odd happily partnered couples de Recat interviews: "I looked to my friends, my family, artists I admired, the internet, and complete strangers. I asked them, 'What's your story?' " Among her interview subjects are her parents, advice columnist Heather Havrilesky and her husband, and a couple who met literally by accident.

Drawn Together is tidily hand-lettered and awash in spare, small-scale drawings in a palette not unsuitable for a wedding invitation. The visuals include comics, diagrams and wisecracking characters, among them one representing de Recat and a pink, goggle-eyed "anthropomorphized version of my heart" named Glenn, who functions as something between a mascot and a fantasy collaborator and who asks at one point, "Why did we agree to write this??" As for the book's muse, that would be the oft-heartsick balladeer Taylor Swift, who is invoked several times in this spirits-boosting and amusingly soul-baring ode to romantic love. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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