Cover Image: A Woman's Voice

A Woman's Voice

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Winckler is a gynecologist who has written about patient advocacy before. That's nice. He also has written quite a few books, both fiction and non-fiction. One of those fiction novels is the basis for this graphic novel, with art by Mermilliod.

Jean is a québécois woman that wants to work as a gynecology surgery, but absolutely hates people. A pretty terrible quality in a doctor. She gets sent to complete her internship with a reputed gynecologist, and this is a story about how she finally learns to not be a terrible person and terrible doctor and accept that other people are humans. At least, that's what the blurb promises us.

The truth is a bit different. Dr Karma, her supervisor, immediately berates her and emotionally abuses her at the drop of a hat, but the comic makes it known that he's an angel, practically a messiah, and therefore this abuse is justified. Jean treats all women horrendously, but she will finally speak to one as if she recognized her intrinsic value as human towards the end of the story, so we're supposed to be okay with her appalling behaviour and believe she will have magically changed.

A long list of female characters are paraded in front of us for a hot minute, each one with a terrifying backstory, and the plot will treat them all like an afterthought. We see several raped and gang-raped children, we assume from the way Karma and Jean speak of them that they know these girls are being raped, but the only thing they do is give them a contraceptive and send them packing. Those characters, once they give us a few tearjerking sentences describing their rapes, disappear. For a story that is supposedly about patient advocacy, about a doctor's role as an emotional support and counselor, its treatment of the abuse of women is worse than nonchalant. It's exploitative. It makes a mockery of women. The same treatment is afforded to the other women, most of those who are given the right to speak being angry, since apparently no one goes for a routine check-up to the gynecologist.

Some characters also present problems that might not be the most usual, but are in no way bizarre to the average women, let alone a female professional who has just finished her studies and was the top of her class, like Jean was; for example, getting pregnant while on the pill. Yet Jean is not only astounded, but refuses to believe such a thing could be possible. Every teenage girl, no matter how bad at Biology, knows no contraceptive is 100% effective, including the pill. The author choosing to make Jean so astoundingly incompetent at her job shows his low opinion of women and is simply a cheap excuse to insert more abuse towards the main character.

There also seems to be an attempt to "normalize nudity" or show that reproductive organs are not necessarily sexual. However, I wouldn't call it a success. While other comics manage to do it (Garin's Forget Me Not comes to mind), in this case it is attempted to do so by showing a few dozen women's sexual organs (but not their faces or their stories), objectifying them further; or by Jean being topless and showing her breasts prominently in each scene where she isn't in public. She needs to be shown in sometimes strange poses to make sure we can see her breasts while she does mundane tasks, like write on the Internet, instead of being realistic: sometimes you might wear a top or bra at home, and sometimes you'll be topless but your boobs won't be visible from every single angle. It is forced, awkward and counterproductive.

Finally, the author decided that a novel about patient advocacy, about sexism in the medical profession, and normalization of women's health wasn't enough, so he decided to add some low-rent telenovela into it. The story is actually about Jean being intersex, something that we discover pretty early but the comic uses as a plot twist towards the end, in the umpteenth example of bad treatment of minorities. We are presented with a supposed tear-jerker info-dump with a messianic gynecologist, his loyal apostles mourning him like a cult leader, a child-kidnapping, rich women being a menace to children, hippy men being the saviours of society, etc.

I'm not sure who this book is for. It's an anti-feminist story about ignorant doctors, abusive men, and using intersexuality as a joke. I wouldn't recomment it to my enemies.
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I started this really hating Jean. I didn't want to, but she just felt so dismissive of patients, impatient with them and their stories. She reminded me of mistrusting and hurtful doctors I've known in the past. However, by the end, I empathized with her, even if I didn't necessarily like her. She herself has had negative experiences that have made her closed-off and quick-tempered, from not knowing her mother to struggling with romantic relationships. I liked seeing her grow by working with Dr. Karma and I enjoyed how the story showed how doctors can come to be so insensitive to their patients. Gynecology and female anatomy are still very stigmatized topics, and I think both patients and physicians could benefit from Dr. Karma's teachings. Each patient coming to Jean and Dr. Karma was treated kindly and sensitively, which is a necessity when dealing with topics like abortion and reproduction. Although I enjoyed the book overall, it began slowly and the structure felt scattered at times, changing with different narrators, hence the four stars.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for my honest review.

This book was exactly what I wanted it to be! I loved it. I will make sure to check out other books by this author. When I requested this I was just intrigued by the concept of it and I loved how it turned out. This story had a great plot and if you have read this and enjoyed it, This was so much. It was such a great story. I would say give this one a try. I will continue to follow this author. Way to go to this author for not letting me down.
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This book blew me away. with its accessible and pastel colour palette, the illustrations were clear, emotive and packed a punch. The content was something else. Following Jean on their medical residency in the Gynaecology department . Jean has their eyes opened to the struggles women face in the health sector, from the physical examinations, the medical dismissals, the disregard of privacy and all the other things that are brushed aside. While shadowing Jean learns the differences her mentor Dr Karma makes, changing her perception on what it means to be a Dr and give the best care for each patient, especially the power of listening to what isn't being said. 
This book was enlightening and on a subject I have great interest in, it was a joy to read about things that are often shied away from and to have this book out in the world discussing very real medical issues is great to see.
The other thing this book did was broach how Intersex people are treated and cared for medically, shining a light on how it is not something to be fixed, but part of who they are.
On the whole a fantastic and knowledgeable Graphic Novel.
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I've gotten to this review late because I wasn't able to download/read after requesting the title, and I ended up buying the book because I wanted to read it very much. My review below has been posted on Goodreads.

This is the first book of any kind I've read that has an intersex protagonist  The story was so, so thoughtfully told. There is a fairy-tale level of coincidence in the top-story happenings that is lovely and that needs to be accepted on its own terms. The joyful buoyancy of that story allows a very nuanced and disturbing and enlightening and life-affirming story to be told underneath it. It's a story about gender, and genitals, and sexual attractiveness/confidence, and body acceptance, and listening. and agency, and medicine vs. healing. Just an incredible amount of stuff going on! This graphic novel exemplifies all the ways graphic novels can impart meanings that are deep and best told in this form and no other.

I loved both the art and the storytelling flow of this graphic novel. The main character Jean was instantaneously knowable and human, from simply drawn gestures, facial expressions, bare scraps of dialogue. The art is fantastic! I loved...Jean's ears! What a wonder how a few lines could show such subtle and thoughtful storytelling. The movement from frame to frame was also a delight. My only regret is that I wasn't able to find a physical copy to buy that was in English--I did enjoy it in the Comixology app, though. I'm very curious now to read the novel on which it was based.
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4 stars     
          
A touching story about finding acceptance & accepting others, flaws & all. A young intersex woman does clinical rotations at an OBGYN clinic in France, & learns to treat her patients like humans, not just walking diseases to be cured.
 
[What I liked:]

•The art style is very expressive, detailed but also unrestrained. 
 
•I actually learned a few things about women’s reproductive health from this book! But more than that, I really appreciate the attitude with which it approaches gynecology—treating women with dignity, listening to & believing women about their bodies, & humanizing the practice of medicine.

•The MC gets a great character growth art: with her father, her boyfriend, her mentor doctor at the clinic, & in her growth as a practitioner. I really enjoyed the story, & was definitely touched by the ending!


[What I didn’t like as much:]

•I had more or less figured out the “big reveal” at the end before it was stated, & it can be argued that it is a bit contrived…however, it still was well written & very meaningful! So I honestly don’t think it is much of a flaw.

CW: terminal illness, racism, sexism, discrimination against intersex people, unethical medical practices, suicide

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
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Oh gosh. This was a pretty good story and I really like how the ending got tied up and there was that reveal that I did not see coming. Intertwining stories are always so much fun to read. Holy moly though, I was shocked about the procedures for some women’s health things like IUD insertions and removals. I saw a video describing the process and thought it was a joke because that wasn’t my insertion experience at all. But it is real and happens to women all over and no woman should have to experience that, especially when there is a less painful way available. Also the cervical biopsy without anesthesia…that would freaking hurt. It’s heartbreaking to see what women have to experience for their health. In regards to the plot, I liked the progression of the resident and doctor’s working relationship. There’s also intersex rep in this story which is not often portrayed in books. Overall, the story itself was ok, but the things you learn while reading it are great.

3.5/5 Stars
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This was a gorgeous graphic novel that will definitely make you sob. A great story about accepting yourself, learning empathy and working hard to change the world.
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This is one of the most magical and inspiring books that I've read so far. This book is about a resident, Dr. Jean Atwood,  who has to spend six months in the maternity ward to complete her residency. She has decided she has no interest in listening to women wailing, and these last six months are merely a formality to her. She has to work under Dr. Franz, whose way of working she doesn't understand. He literally wastes the whole day listening to women's life stories when it has nothing to do with their medical issues! Just give them a new medication and let them go. 

Slowly but steadily, Jean comes around Dr. Franz's way of working and tries to practice empathy with her patients too. 

This illustrated book is adapted from the novel by Martin Winckler, script and illustrated by Aude Memiliod, and I must say, the art is really beautiful. The book is really emotional and moving. It talks about a range of issues about women, a lot of people just brush it off as them being "hyper". What I liked is this is a really great way of educating about medical issues without them being overly theoretical or boring. Storytelling is indeed powerful. 

The part that really moved me was when Jean's boyfriend comes to meet her, and of course, the ending. It was really beautiful. I would recommend this book to people who are in the medical field, whether students or professionals, feminists and woke people, LGBTQIA people (intersex, specifically), and their parents.
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Graphic novels aren't usually a genre I liked, but 'A Woman's Voice' sounded too interesting not to try, and I was not disappointed. Jean is a medical intern about to start her final residency rotation in gynaecology. She starts off as an unlikable character, but as it goes on her character growth is evident. Dr Karma, her supervisor, helps her understand that the best way to treat patients is by getting to know them and their stories. I would recommend it.
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Really really good 

This graphic novel has the sensitivity needed and the raw honesty that is appreciated in books with sensitive topics.

The art in this book is fabulous and intimately respected. I loved that the illustrations made me feel more than what a reader actually feels while reading such raw topics.

The storyline was good and just the right amount of deep and also a fluctuation from drowning in the sadness. 

The points on how well and diverse the women here are is a new and good look to the mind. The story of how our leads undergoes all theh struggles is very nearly laid down in the book, there isn't an ounce of confusion.

The plights of women and displaying them in such an honest way had me finishing the book faster. For anyone who needs an insightful book about women, sexual orientation rep and deep relations with understanding doctors!
This book is for y'all 😊

Thank you @netgalley for the ARC
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This is a lovely graphic novel about what it means to be a woman. Deeply moving and meaningful, I think everyone should read this title.
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This was a wonderful reckoning of what it means to be a woman—or at least be perceived as one—in healthcare.  This graphic novel follows Jean, a medical  student about to finish her residency, who reluctantly joins Dr. Karma's department in gynecology. His radical methods and humanity clash with Jean's no nonsense attitude but, little by little, she starts to see the why in Karma's actions as she uncovers things about her past that she might not have been ready to confront before.

A Woman's Voice feels like a big hug, one that not only makes you feel loved but also empowers you to partake in your own health. This novel embraces women, their past, their actions, their fears and their dreams; much like Dr. Karma, it is understanding and nonjudgemental. It also carefully deals with what it means to fall outside of the traditional gender and sex spectrum, exposing the beauty of it that is so cruelly locked up by the medical profession.  

This book is for anyone that has ever felt their humanity stripped away by doctors, hopefully it will bring you peace and a new sense of bravery to advocate for yourself.
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The graphics are pretty great, as is the story itself. The tone of it however seems to be talking down a bit.

Loved the attitude, exactly what we'd need in a doctor but story wise, it seems to be a bit too far fetched.
Loved the use of the naked female body and the normal feeling surrounding it, not what I expected but I really appreciate it.

A bit thank you to #EuropeComics and #NetGalley for the ARC.
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A lovely graphic novel that has a great plot and artwork! I will definitely be sharing this with my students as they are in love with great stories!
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When I started reading this book, I thought of another one titled, 'Man Alive' by Thomas Page McBee. The conversation about intersex is not widely known and I think this is a really good addition on the subject. 

I highly recommend this!

Thank you #EuropeComics and #NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this.
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Wonderful!! Pretty great character art and colors, but this graphic novel is all about the story. Despite being so prickly, Jean is a super sympathetic character and it's the best feeling when you already like a character and see them grow into someone who's great. Under Dr. Karma, Jean learns that to be a great doctor, it requires really listening to your patients, making them comfortable.

"Healing people can sometimes be a bit slow."

I really loved this!
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The book is a graphic version of the French novel “Le Chœur des femmes” by Martin Winckler. It tells the story of Jean, a medical student who is about to start her final residency rotation in gynecology. Jean initial has a very demeaning attitude towards the women patients but Dr Karma who is her supervisor shows her a different way and gradually she changes her attitude. Jean eventually manages to find her own story in the lives of the women she treats and her own hurts, questions and wounds are some how healed by her experience. 

When I first started to read this I thought it dragged a bit but it gathers pace and becomes really interesting because aspects of Jean’s life are explored and we get to see the early career of Dr Karma and how he becomes known as unorthodox when he is simply innovative and caring.

The artwork is good with simple but clear graphics that manage to convey a complex and engaging story. 

Copy provided via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Spoiler free review. I endeavour to review without revealing the plot/any twists/the ending. 

This is really rather wonderful, both in terms of the plot (ever so slightly predictable/contrived but thoroughly engaging), the gorgeous artwork - subtle yet effective (and somewhat reminiscent of the divine Posey Simmonds), but also, and most impressively, what it had to say about women's reproductive health and their experiences thereof. 

The journey of the MC is one both professional and personal, the two being profoundly linked and I found it immensely satisfying to accompany her on it. The stories of the women she encounters are fascinating and moving and though these characters are met only briefly I feel I had a profound insight into their lives. 

I love the approach and attitude of Dr Karma - if only every woman had a Dr Karma at their disposal! The MCs father is also a revelation. 

I found myself relating, sympathising, crossing my legs (!) and empathising all the way through to an ending that was pretty much perfect!

What a powerful read, saying important, relevant and meaningful things that need to be heard. Revealing, sometimes  shocking, profound, moving and ultimately empowering, I would highly recommend this book to readers of any identity.
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I absolutely adored this book! It didn't only warm my heart, it also taught me a lot about my own body. I loved how the book focused on the importance of empathy in the field of medical sciences; how just listening to your patients can go a long way in treating them more effectively. I also loved the range of subjects covered in this graphic novel - from reproductive health to gender identity, and the sensitivity with which each of these subjects were dealt. I believe that every doctor (if the medical theory aspects of the story are accurate), parent, and woman can enjoy and learn a lot from this story. 

The artwork is also very good and goes well with the story.
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