REVIEWS OF INDESTRUCTIBLE
"This reflective narrative analyzes Road's formative high school years as a Latina outcast in 1990's Miami. Road uses gritty illustrations and wayward text to examine teenage promiscuity and coping mechanisms (read: getting stoned, wired, or shit-faced). Indestructible explores the toxic impact gender bias and proscribed norms have on questioning youth, while encouraging inquiry and protest against social constraints. So powerful is Road's candid portrayal of growing pains, it provides the perfect comfort for angsty, self-loathing youth and sends older readers back down memory lane through their own adventures and mishaps of young adulthood."
-Azania Baker, CURVE Magazine
"Join illustrator and zinester Cristy Road on her journey through adolescence in Miami. In all the tumult, Road explores her Cuban roots and encounters homophobia, rape, and mortality. You will cheer her on as she discovers her identity as the tough, irrepressible punk woman I had the pleasure of meeting recently. Here is yet another book I wish was mandatory for fifteen-year-old girls."
- Beck Levy, Politics and Prose Bookstore
"When you think of Miami, you don't often think of punk. I grew up in South Florida, I've come back here (for now). Miami is anti-punk - superficial, isolationist, materialistic. It's possible to be punk in this city - to create and exist outside of the mainstream. Yet I'm always curious to see how others form their own identities, their own cultures in a place that doesn't do much to support them. This is what made me read Cristy C. Road's illustrated novel, Indestructible - a memoir of adolescence in Miami in the early nineties, the story of a Cuban-American punk rock girl.
Road's narrative has an emotional immediacy, a social relevance that makes you believe her voice, makes you belong to her world. You forget how old you are, you are with her - drinking a 32 ounce of beer ("because forties were illegal in Florida"), going to punk shows, listening to a two-minute song for empowerment.
She strongly identifies with her Cuban family, her working-class background. She questions everything - beauty standards, sexuality. But she struggles with outside influences that try to dictate her appearance, thoughts and behavior. Her mother tells her to be happy with her unibrow - but Cristy is learning how to "[fish] for strength." Sometimes she's not impervious to those influences: "...I weakened and shaved the bridge between my eyes."
Road learns to talk back to those who tell her she's not "Latina enough," or who insist she decide on her sexuality, "choose a side" - gay or straight. She finally secures a hard-won sense of identity when confronting a boy who sexually harasses her at school: "I stopped silencing myself... how nice it would be to one day let 'shit' make me stronger."
The artwork has the same level of immediacy. Road's black and white illustrations are cinematic frames which include vivid action scenes - a sexual encounter, a fist-fight - as well as intimate, candid portraits of Road and her friends. A particularly haunting picture of a girl named Selene appears throughout the book. She stares at us - unwavering, omniscient.
Sometimes the prose style of Indestructible veers towards the polemic, and takes the reader away from having their own interpretations flow organically from the text. Overall, Road's novel is a testimony of survival - a powerful reminder of how we must create (and re-create) our identities - whether the mainstream is with us, or not. "
- Andrea Dulanto [Feminist Review]
"Insight" -- I kind of "skipped" the whole zine thing as a teenager. I was never a Cometbus or Burn Collector fan until recently, and while Aaron and Al have much to say that I connect with, Cristy Road's burgeoning multi-media empire really speaks to me. I mean, why wouldn't a white, "straight" kid from WV not relate to a Latina's experience in Miami? I think the universality of Road's stories is a testament to her writing ability and the proof that the more we think our situation is unique, the more we should realize we have a network of support available."
-Justin August, Punknews.org
"I would guess that by now most people in the zine community have either read Cristy Road's writing in Greenzine, or at the very least seen some of her prolific artwork (possibly without even knowing it). If not, you're missing out and should buy this book in order to get a healthy sampling of both. I had the good fortune of doing a reading with Cristy in New York earlier this year, during which she read excerpts from the book, and so I was really looking forward to reading this. It's being classified as a novel, but it's an autobiographical one, with stories rearranged for the purposes of clarity and conveyance of meaning. If you've read Greenzine, you probably know what you're in for. For others, this is a tale of being teenaged in Miami, questioning race and gender, all wrapped up in a messy punk rock package. It's great, and a steal at five bucks."
- Sean Stewart, New Pages
"I've read other stuff by Cristy Road, particularly her Greenzine. And many of you reading this may be familiar with her artwork, which has graced numerous publications, flyers, t-shirts, and so on. It's truly distinctive and carries with it a connotation of what Cristy's writings are all about. She often deals with the topics of gender, acceptance, rebellion, individuality, punk, and queer positive issues. While reading anything having to do with queer issues sometimes goes over my head (not for lack of understanding, but because I'm straight) Cristy does tend to dish out some funny, yet enlightening stories. This particular book, which is sort of a continuation of Greenzine, just with a different name, explores the stories of Christy's life going into high school and coming to discover who she is. In that sense any punk can relate- the confusion, the isolation, the new discoveries, and inevitable liberation/curse of individuality. In that respect this book succeeds. It's just that the path to reaching these conclusions on the written page are, at times, just as confusing as life was when I was 15. The illustrations, as always, are a visual delight."
- Ryan, Hanging Like A Hex
"Author and illustrator Cristy Road paints her adolescence, particularly high school, as a cultural background where her Latina heritage, sexual curiosity, and love of punk collided with the trappings of popular culture on a 24 hour basis. At times these words seem like a horrible, never ending bit of madness. But on the flipside, readers may feel if they can just quiet the battles raging in their own head long enough, they just might learn something about themselves along the way. Pay close attention to the illustrations, especially those who know the author. You just might be one of the characters in her war zone."
- Wonkavision #34
"Fifteen chapters about growing up in Florida as a cuban woman. There are alot of great drawings that go along with the story, most of Cristy and her friends making trouble. Topics include but are not limited to: drugs, '90s punk bands, the healing power of the 2 minute song, masturbation, queerness and homophobia, writing a zine, rumors about the author, and the death of a friend. The writing is fun and easy to get, but it also makes you think about your own experiences. If you are into personal zines or have read Green zine I'd recommend picking this up - it's a good read. -Heartattack #50
"As I was reading this it struck me that this isn’t unlike a children’s book; albeit one designed for adults. Like a kid’s book it has short chapters, and like a kid’s book each chapter starts out with an illustration. Also like a children’s book – well at least like most of the kid’s books that I remember reading – it’s an awesome read. Originally due to be Cristy’s final issue of Greenzine, one of the best perzines to have been published, she instead decided to release it, with the help of Microcosm, as a book. This acts as a Cristy Road memoir up to the end of high school, and follows the angst of childhood, puberty, emerging sexuality, gender and racial stereotypes all in one fell swoop. Each chapter is separated into different experiences of growing up, though they don’t necessarily follow any strict chronological order. There are key events, and people, who reappear in more than one chapter, and establish themselves as the backbone to the story, and to understanding Cristy’s experiences of teenage life. The chapters dwell on friendship, lovers, family, punks, life in Miami, and feeling alien to whichever culture she finds herself in. The feeling of alienation seems to be the core theme that runs common throughout Indestructible, as it did in many issues of Greenzine. She finds the punk scene too white, and punks find her too “Latino,” whilst in her Cuban community she’s seen as being too interested in “white” culture. Likewise at school her emerging, and vocalized, sexuality is seen as a threat, or worse, an invitation to try and fuck with her. Despite the intensity of a lot of the subject matter Cristy, for the most part, manages to keep upbeat and positive about the world, even whilst listing all the problems with it. Even so, most chapters end with a sense of bitterness that live isn’t easier than it is. Despite this the mood always rises above the pessimism, and certainly the book ends with the reader feeling empowered for themselves, and hopeful that Cristy’s going to end up happy. With a quick writing style this is a real page-turner and one of those books that’s impossible to put down. The style is helped by the shortness of each chapter, taking up into an experience, through it, and out of it again in a flurry of activity, and with little superfluous dialogue or facts. As mentioned above, each chapter has some of Cristy’s distinctive art printed with it. If you’ve been in the D.I.Y. punk community for any length of time you’ll no doubt be familiar with her work, even if you don’t know her by name. The art compliments the stories well, and gives an awesome “picture book” feel to the whole publication. It is also so of the best artwork that I’ve seen her produce to date. I suspect some people may find the book too “emo.” The book is at time emotionally raw, with an unsanitized, and ruthlessly honest examination of Cristy’s teenage experience. Still it is well worth picking up, and I hope Cristy doesn’t end her writing career here, because her words are almost as good as her artwork."
- Edd, Last Hours, Issue 14, Autumn 06