LGBTQ Manga Book Club: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

LGBTQ Manga Book Club: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Happy Pride Month! Here is the second installation of the online monthly LGBTQ Manga Book Club: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata! The manga is available in English from Seven Seas Entertainment in paperback or digital as of June 6th. Nagata illustrates how her mental illness, employment struggles, and desperation for affection led to hiring a lesbian escort in this autobiographical manga. Be warned it contains depictions of self-harm, disordered eating, and sexual content.

Background Information

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness began as a series of essay manga strips (drawn traditionally and uploaded as photographs) in 2015 on Pixiv.net, a Japanese website where users share their illustrations and creative writing. Among English-speakers Pixiv is mostly known as a source of Japanese fanart, but original works such as Nagata’s can be found as well. Her manga grew popular online and was later published with cleaned artwork by East Press, known for publishing LGBTQ essay manga. The English edition is published by Seven Seas Entertainment, translated by Jocelyne Allen and adapted by Lianne Sentar.

Nagata followed My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness with Solo Exchange Diary, serialized in the digital edition of Hibana (the same manga magazine as Coherent Cats favorite Shimanami Tasogare) on Pixiv and collected into one volume. An exchange diary is a notebook shared between friends who alternate writing entries, like pen pals within one book, but “solo” means Nagata writing with herself. Solo Exchange Diary is another autobiographical manga about her life after the publication of MLEWL, told through diary entries between herself.

Further Reading

Discussion Questions

  1. What are your overall thoughts on the book? How did reading it make you feel? What chapter or moment stood out to you? What do you think of the artwork?
  2. Nagata discusses her mental illness throughout the book, describing and analyzing its impact on her life. What kind of issues does she deal with from other people? From herself? What did you think of her depiction of mental illness?
  3. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a memoir. How did this affect your experience of reading it? Would your experience have been different if it were a fictional story?
  4. What did you think of Nagata’s exploration of sex and sexuality?
  5. What do “childhood” and “adulthood” embody to Nagata? Do you relate?
  6. Parental approval weighs heavily on Nagata’s mind. What barriers to mental health do parents pose that the rest of the society doesn’t?
  7. Nagata looks at the role of art and stories in her life, both as a creator and a fan. What is the power of art and stories to you, whether you make it and/or consume it?
  8. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is classified as “yuri” on the Seven Seas website, Pixiv, etc. Do you think it fits within the genre of yuri? Why or why not?
  9. Any other thoughts?
  10. Any discussion questions you have for fellow book club members?

You may answer as many or as few questions as you like. Feel free to leave your comments on this post and/or the Goodreads group! For July the LGBTQ Manga Book Club will start discussing Rica ‘tte Kanji?! by Rica Takashima, which is available to read in English for free online. Discussion will indefinitely remain open for My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and past books.

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