I’ve had my eye on this particular graphic memoir before, but decide just this past week to finally give it a go. I was beyond grateful to see myself so easily immerse into the intensely personal world presented in Marbles.
Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forney’s memoir provides a humorous but authentic glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist’s work, as she shares her own story through black-and-white graphic images and prose.
I went into this expecting a similar kind of storytelling presented in Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, but this graphic novel ended up differing for me in its achingly honest representation of living with a mental illness, along with exploring the author’s bisexuality. It also raises to light the significance of answering questions through a mix of research, storytelling, and honesty. From exploring the stereotype behind the “crazy artist” to questioning if bipolar disorder & creativity are actually linked, and answering the big one of: “If I take meds to prevent my mood swings, am I choosing to be less creative?”.
This is a deeply complex, dark, personal, raw, fully fleshed graphic memoir unlike anything I’ve read in the past. Towards the end, in particular, when the issues raised were part medical, part philosophical was when the memoir left me most grounded.
“It was a relief to discover that aiming for a balanced life doesn’t mean succumbing to a boring one.”
And I think now is a good place to let the work speak for itself by sharing some of my favorite pieces:
I’ll cherish this educational, eye-opening, and personal read for a long time to come. By the end of it, Ellen Forney even shares an accurate visual of reaching that dreaded ending in your favorite books: