Reviews > Published on August 11th, 2015

Bookshots: 'Not Funny Ha-Ha' by Leah Hayes

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Not Funny Ha-Ha

Who wrote it?

There are many reasons why someone may make the decision to have an abortion...[this] is a book brave enough to address what happens next.

Leah Hayes, "an illustrator, musician, songwriter, and producer."

Plot in a box:

Everything you ever wanted to know about what happens after you've made the decision to have an abortion.

Invent a new title for this book:

I Want to Have an Abortion: Now What?

Read this if you like:

Not being talked down to about complex emotional issues

Meet the book's lead(s)

Mary, who for reasons that are her own has decided to have a medical abortion, and Lisa, who for reasons that are her own has decided to have a surgical abortion.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Any human being who is physically capable of becoming pregnant could play either of these roles.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

I would like to live in a world where women are free to make choices regarding their bodies, yes.

What was your favorite sentence?

Whether it's a complicated decision or a no-brainer; whether you have a partner or you don't; whether you have an awesome relationship with your family or a less-than-awesome one...the important thing to remember is that the final decision is YOURS, and no one is allowed to tell you what to do. ('s YOUR body.)

(...although that doesn't mean that it's always an easy decision.)

The Verdict:

Let's say you've decided to have an abortion. Your situation, your reasons, your feelings about this decision, are all exactly that: yours. What exactly do you do now? What are the steps that need to be taken? What are the issues to be considered? What exactly is going to happen to you/your body?

In Not Funny Ha-Ha, artist and writer Leah Hayes doesn't particularly know how you've arrived at this decision to have an abortion; all she cares about is that you have as much help and information as possible now that you've made it. Very often discussions about abortion involve circumstances and emotions and the build-up to the decision, but rarely are women and young girls presented with the details of what happens once that decision has been made. How many types of abortion are there? How long does each take? How much pain does each cause? What's the recovery time like? Is surgery involved? Not Funny Ha-Ha answers all of these questions and more, and in a considerate, emotionally mature way. It's none of Leah Hayes's business how you've come to this decision, but it's important that you have all of the necessary facts at your disposal once you have.

Not Funny Ha-Ha is a work of graphic fiction comprised of illustrations accompanied by hand-written text. This intimate approach does much to make the reader feel at ease while considering such a complex subject. There is no shame or judgment or political agenda whatsoever involved. Abortion is something that exists, and many people have questions about it: Not Funny Ha-Ha seeks to answer those questions.

Obviously this book is not for everyone, but it should be. There's nothing inherently offensive about this book. It's educational, and thoughtful, and provides sound advice and background regarding procedures with which woefully few are familiar. The best part about the book is that much of the advice revolves around the same sentiment: talk to your doctor. The book advocates open communication with medical professionals, but also with friends and family members, as this is ultimately still a very emotional event in a person's life. The fact of the matter is, though, that there are many reasons why someone may make the decision to have an abortion, well beyond the few that its detractors often cite as reasons why it should be illegal. Not Funny Ha-Ha is a book brave enough to address what happens next, once the decision has been made, and it does an exceptional job.

About the author

Brian McGackin is the author of BROETRY (Quirk Books, 2011). He has a BA from Emerson College in Something Completely Unrelated To His Life Right Now, and a Masters in Poetry from USC. He enjoys Guinness, comic books, and Bruce Willis movies.

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