This is a series of short graphic vignettes about Cunningham’s time working in a Psychiatric hospital. They were written both to explain the work that Cunningham did there– and to destigmatize various kinds of mental illness. A variety of people’s mental situations are described, including Cunningham’s own at the end. Most of them are pretty damn stark. It’s an important collection, gripping at times, and I read through it in about half an hour.
The book was made to destigmatize mental illness, but I still felt like there was some objectification going on. Like maybe the most “extreme” cases were focused on? I am wondering if my “objectification alarm” was simply going off because any discussion of mental illness whatsoever in our culture is so rare? I’m note sure yet.
But I like Cunningham’s drawing style and this graphic novel is unique in subject matter so maybe you should check it out.
Here’s where you can find a copy at your nearest library
I like Ellen Forney’s comics.
(I think I first saw her work in some anthology when I was a teenager, before I even really knew that comics existed beyond the sunday funnies and Superman– and that WOMEN CAN WRITE THEM)
Marbles is a memoir about getting diagnosed as bipolar and dealing with it. It’s quite good. It’s arranged into an engaging story that you don’t want to put down. Even when your laundry load’s up 3 blocks away at the laundromat and you know that if you don’t get your ass off the couch soon to go and get it that one guy who sleeps there might start going through your stopped dryer and claim that perfect hoodie that you found on the corner of 8th ave and California st the other day for himself– it was still hard to pull myself away.
There are lots of dimensions to the book: Forney talks about her early skepticism of the diagnosis, the lengthy process of finding meds that aren’t awful, “coming out” at bipolar to other people… She also clearly did a nice chunk of research on famous bipolar artists and writers and weaves that into the story. She does a solid job of combining dark, raw moments with hilarious moments– at times it feels diary-like, like you accidentally found it while you were creeping through her bedroom…
FIND A COPY AT YOUR LIBRARY