She Lost Her Marbles (But Found Them Again)
Graphic novels and I don't get along well, so the fact I'm rating this one with four stars tells you how much it pleased and surprised me.
Ellen Forney is a cartoonist and teacher who begins to suffer severe mood swings in her twenties. It rocks her world to receive a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. What does an artist turn to in order to deal with such earth-shaking news? Well, ART, of course. This graphic novel documents her journey through therapy, medication and life with this daunting diagnosis.
In this case, the drawings, doodles, and other images clarify and uplift the story rather than distracting me (like in other graphic novels). Ms. Forney has a keen sense of humor, humility and insight that drive the story. And for those diagnosed with Bipolar I or II, I imagine this book can enlighten their journey as well.
This story explores the link between mental illness and creativity . . . are the two inextricably linked? Will medications like lithium and Lamictil silence one's artistic voice? This question reminds me of [b:A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man|7588|A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man|James Joyce|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1309376772s/7588.jpg|3298883], which posits that perhaps suffering is necessary for art. Does that suffering entail untreated mental illness, though? I believe Ms. Forney answers this question in a satisfactory manner.
I liked the thick pages and clever drawings so much that I bought a copy of my own.