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  • Writer's pictureLucie Ataya

Review: Plate Tectonics, by Margaux Motin


The book is full of poesy, of the kind that we find in the precious instants of everyday life.'


I've followed French illustrator Margaux Motin for a long, long time, and her books are some of those I keep going back and flicking through when I need a pick-me-up.

Plate Tectonics is a memoir like no other. First of all, it's an illustrated one, following Motin's life as a freshly-divorced mother-of-one in a series of images and comic strips to which many of us will be able to relate. The book takes us on Motin's journey of self-rediscovery, the one tat inevitably comes after a break-up. We follow her as she reinvents herself, raises her daughter as a single mom and falls in love again.

Motin's talent for drawing is undeniable. But to me it's her ability to represent those everyday scenes to perfection that shines through, and her almost spooky way of nailing the exact emotion behind them with uncanny accuracy. Many women will recognise themselves in her struggles, laugh with her at the incongruence of some of the situations and feel their guts tighten at her heartache.

The book is full of poesy, of the kind that we find in the precious instants of everyday life. We skip from one fragment of life to another, from incredibly touching and magical moments to highly-coloured adult language.

The book is an account of Motin's growth as a woman, the story of her coming into herself after going through a challenging time in her life. It peels layer after layer of what it means to be a strong independent woman in the modern age: it can be messy, and chaotic, and nerve-wrecking, but it's also full of joy and beauty.

The book is one of a kind. It's unusual. It inspires. It makes us laugh. It gets us a little teary-eyed at times. And it makes us hopeful. It'll suit anyone looking for something a little different and who's ready to be surprised. Bear in mind this is not a novel, but an illustrated memoir, so possibly not for everyone. But if you're open to experimenting a little, this is one book you're bound to read more than once. Because anytime you'll be in need of a little colour in your day, you'll find yourself picking up Plate Tectonics and flicking through its pages and noticing that, like a deck of oracle cards, it often opens just at the right page to lift your spirits.

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