Moodysson's graphic novel memoir, Never Goodnight, was an enormous hit in Sweden and was adapted into an acclaimed movie called We Are the Best by Moodysson's husband, Lukas Moodysoon.
In 2015, Harpercollins published an English translation of Never Goodnight, bringing Moodysson's sweet, funny, awkward story to an international audience. I adored it.
Moodysson's story was achingly familiar to me — we're the same age, and I, too, spent the mid-eighties shaving my head and spiking my hair with soap and hanging around with similarly weird friends dreaming of starting punk bands. Moodysson's sweetly unsentimental storytelling perfectly captures the Adrian Mole absurdity and unaffected pretentiousness of being a tween who was determined to be a freak.
Coco and her friends never really learn to play their instruments, and must fight for rehearsal space and access to guitars with older, dismissive boys who dominate the community center. They try panhandling for guitar money but fall short and blow the money on junk food. Their parents are messed up and absent, and they get drunk at parties in their absence, arrange ill-advised liaisons with punk boys they see in the "kid news" magazines, and gratuitously insult a pop star who are doing public appearances at the local record store.
The translation is excellent, and is helped along by footnotes that help give context to the local bands and trends that non-Swedes won't be familiar with. As with science fiction, the golden age of punk is 12, and Coco and her pals are a screaming, thrashing reminder that punk is never dead.
Never Goodnight [Coco Moodysson/Harpercollins]