Title: Bingo Love
Author: Tee Franklin
Genre: LGBT Graphic Novel
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: February 20, 2018
[Read | Skim] [Buy | Borrow]
Two Sentence Summary: There is no real way to sum this up in two sentences without giving anything away. So, all I’ll say is that is Forbidden Love in 1963.
What Popped: The graphics are phenomenal
What Fell Flat: The characters and the plot
I came across Bingo Love while watching Ashley’s video on her Booktube channel, Bookish Realm. Here’s her introduction, which is less than a minute; but feel free to watch the entire video.
My Thoughts: Let me just say now, I did enjoy Bingo Love. It was a good pique your interest in a potential Sapphic romance. And I say this now because once you read the review you may think I didn’t like it – but I did. I just had some problems with it.
I like a good mix of character and plot-driven books. Unfortunately with Bingo Love I got a healthy dose of neither. I wished the characters and/or plot had been flushed out more. In my opinion, there was so much more that could have been done with this. The characters are one dimensional and the plot was practically non-existent.
Bingo Love seemed more like a summary that goes something like this. . .
- Girl sees girl across crowded Bingo room and thinks she’s the bee’s knees
- Girls become BFFs
- Girls admit true feelings
- Girls kiss in front of Conservative Christian grandmother who has a cow
- One girl is sent away
- Both girls marry men, start a family and are unhappy in their marriage
- Girls find each other again at Bingo
- Girls divorce husbands
- Girls live happily ever after
That’s the gist of the story. There are a few things, and I do mean a few things that take place in between the bulleted items, but for the most part that’s it. We don’t see Mari’s feelings about being torn apart from Hazel. In fact, the reader doesn’t see or hear about Mari until we see her 60 years later at Bingo. And those 60 years are summed up in a page or two.
The story is told from Hazel’s POV, but I do believe that a dual storyline would have been a better way to go in order to flush out the characters a little more and enhance the plot.
The plot was pretty canned, too – Forbidden Love. First of all, I don’t like romance in my novels and when I see/read them I have a visceral reaction🤮🤮 I thought there would be more romance and prepared myself for it. I would like to have seen how Mari and Hazel’s relationship developed. I mean one minute they’re BFFs and the next they’re kissing in front of Mari’s grandmother’s house.
Something I felt could have helped move the plot along was that Hazel sees a therapist. I can only assume it’s because she’s unhappy in her marriage and not living her true self. It would have been nice to see a session or two and how therapy helps or even hurts her, but instead, the session is thrust upon us in a single panel and the reader never sees or hears of it again.
Now, I didn’t see the last few pages coming or the ending for that matter. And to be honest, I was really confused with the ending vs how it started. I feel like it was an alternate ending that Franklin felt ‘had’ to be done, especially since they were older. But I felt it was unnecessary.
The premise of Bingo Love is good and I think could be even better if Franklin had taken a little more time to develop the characters and plot. It such a serious topic and I got the feeling Franklin was afraid or not really sure how to delve into the effects of Mari and Hazel being forced to hide their true selves and love.