The Facts of Life is a beautifully drawn, funny and sometimes painful exploration of what it takes to be a woman, and a mother – or not.
In 1970s northeast England, best friends Polly and April are sitting up a tree, whispering about periods and swapping their hazy knowledge of the facts of life. They both expect to have families one day – it’s the normal script to follow. But as they grow up, education and career become important, too, and they believe they can have it all.
When, some years later, Polly settles with Jack, her career has taken off and she feels torn over whether or not to try for a baby. Has she left it too late? Did she have any control over that choice? They go ahead, but after repeated miscarriage and chronic illness take their toll, Polly must confront what family means in a society where ‘family’ usually means ‘children’.
“Moving and sympathetic… thoughtfully challenges the societal notion that to live a life without children is to live a lesser life. My favourite quote of the whole book was, perhaps, ‘Childless? Childfree? Neither, just ME.'”
Paula Knight grew up in northeast England, studied graphic design and illustration at Bristol Polytechnic, and works from her home studio in Bristol as an illustrator and writer. An extract from The Facts of Life was shortlisted by judges including Ian Rankin, Bryan Talbot and Hannah Berry for the inaugural First Fictions First Graphic Novel Competition in 2012. The full memoir is now published by Myriad Editions. Read more.