Alicia Souza needed to make a marriage announcement without having a big, fancy wedding. So a few months after the legal documents were signed making her and her husband, George, government-approved official, she upgraded her annual-ish update of drawings into a book, which surprised George, too.
Let’s say Dearest George is her way of getting back at her husband, for being awkward about PDA, by taking all her love notes public. But once you’re married realism sets in pretty quick. Then again, Alicia is in love with being in love. The comfort of their human-ness, the warmth of their voice and even the sweatiness of hand-holding of someone you adore. Dearest George captures all that. The everyday kinda love with an infinite number of kisses, huge doses of longing when they’re away, just a wee bit of creepy stalking, lots of chips eating (one needs special nutrition) & the occasional banter about who made the first move.
I stumbled upon Alicia Souza’s Instagram in my search for an annual planner and stayed for the illustrations. It was only a few weeks ago I discovered she had a book out as well. With all the illustrated books I’ve been reading lately, what’s one more, I justified to myself, and here we are.
Souza illustrates snippets of being married when you’re madly in love. But these aren’t just funny incidents. These are the corniest, mushiest moments that might make the best of us question whether being married is really worth it, after all.
The sketches are incredibly cute with a bearded husband, a mostly-beaming wife, an attention-seeking dog and a blink-and-you-miss guinea pig. The events described are not connected but as you flip through you’ll get a peek into the life of a hopelessly-in-love couple finding joy in the day-to-day. Or is it Alicia finding joy while George looks on helplessly? I leave that observation to you.
Every little detail in the book is hand drawn. Even the copyright page! I love her illustration style and the way she uses colour in mostly black and white drawings.
The book’s layout is a mix of comic strips, postcards, posters. There’s also a page of stickers and a postcard at the end. Basically every page is frameable art and would make great gifts for your SO as multiple love notes or all together as a declaration of love.
Alicia Souza isn’t called the Happiness Illustrator for nothing. Whether you’re in love, not in love, looking for love or done with love, you’ll find plenty in here to bring a smile on your face.
Dearest George by Alicia Souza. Published in 2020 by Penguin Random House India.
Book 57 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
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