Book Review: The Fire Never Goes Out

Title: The Fire Never Goes Out
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Date Published: March 3, 2020
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Date read: March 8, 2020
Reread: no

The Fire Never Goes Out gives us a glimpse into Noelle Stevenson’s life from 2011-2019. The chapters are divided up by year and the book is told in a format of random introspective comics followed by a yearly wrap up.

I did not like this memoir. After I finished reading it I felt the need to look up what a memoir was because this felt extremely different from any other memoir I had consumed in the past (and I’ve read graphic memoirs before). The Fire Never Goes Out just really lacks cohesion, which, by definition isn’t actually necessary to memoirs. I felt like I would have enjoyed this a lot more had I followed Noelle throughout her career because I felt like I was missing something. We would get a stream of pretty depressing comics followed up with a cheerful, “it’s been a really good year” wrap up that made the story feel inconsistent. While I do think this was intentional because of what is described in the last chapter, it did not make for a good story. Also, while I 100% respect Noelle’s privacy and decision not to share personal details of her life, this is a memoir, and skimping on most of the details just made this story feel extremely incomplete. I read Edward Snowden’s memoir last year, and I loved it, and he managed to tell a story, without getting too deep into his personal life so I do think it’s possible to tell a good memoir without getting too personal, but unfortunately this wasn’t it.