Review: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney

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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.Marbles 12-- bookspoils

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:

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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:

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4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Marbles, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Secrets for the Mad by Dodie Clark

“When you can’t find your purpose in a day, make it to look after yourself.”

I went into this book not knowing too much about the author, other than being absolutely in love with her cover of the song Novels with Rusty Clanton. I must’ve replayed it over a hundred times since I found it back in April.

I consider it to be one of my all-time favorite songs, thanks to its visceral lyrics that make my heart skip a beat without fail. So I was bound to read Secrets for the Mad sooner or later. Plus, there’s the fact that I adore reading memoirs.

Nonetheless, I was glad to discover Dodie’s writing style flowing really easily in here, especially with her short tales. I was unexpectedly swept into her life from page one and consequently managed to read the book from cover to cover with little to no breaks.

This wickedly fun and inspiring collection of personal stories, lessons, song lyrics, and photos from the beloved British vlogger Dodie Clark, contains vitally important things on a plethora of topics:

  • From struggles with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, dependent personality disorder (DPD), depression and anxiety, to body image, eating disorders, and self-hate.
  • Also notes on crushes, love, heartbreak, manipulative and emotionally abusive relationships. Sex and portraying a realistic depiction of sexual intimacy, not just an overview that you get to read basically everywhere.
  • Bisexuality and coming out, feminism in a world that favors men, family, cooking tips, and so much more on experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in life.

Plus, the line-drawn illustrations spread throughout the book was something I was always looking forward to.Secrets for the Mad 1-- bookspoils Though the first half of this book made me spiral a bit, which consequently had me going about it quite delicately, over time, with the topics changing in for some lighter ones, I sank deeply into Dodie’s world of words and lyrics.

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Her goal shared at the beginning of wanting a place to share the depths behind the music and let the world into my turbulent mind was more than met in my opinion. I also came out of Secrets for the Mad feeling genuinely grateful that I got to connect with Clark over the course of my day through her honesty, wisdom, and wit. The same frankness that I greatly cherished with Arden Rose’s Almost Adulting.

And last but not least, I, of course, had to listen to a Dodie classic while reading her work:

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: November 7th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Secrets for the Madjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Waking up to the news that Sabrina Benaim had released a poetry collection genuinely put a smile on my face this morning.

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Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50 million views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

I was pleased to find that her voice, both written and spoken, is so distinguished that it’s impossible not to hear it while reading. However, unlike her live slam poems where you can feel her passion translate over onto you, in Depression & Other Magic Tricks I failed to experience the same.

While reading this collection there just wasn’t ever that moment of epiphany of “YES! I can relate and understand because I feel that way too.” My attention was solely focused on trying to decipher what each poem meant and also who it’s supposed to be directed at. I never really felt like we got a solid look into the themes promised in the blurb above, rather just mentions of it. I feel like most of the pieces were more on loneliness and breakups and romance, as opposed to a sharp focus on mental health. So I repeatedly felt as if I’d missed something major upon completing each poem and like I was in way over my head with this.

Still, I’d like to include three works that sparked something indescribable in me:

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Overall, though my expectations for Sabrina Benaim’s poetry collection weren’t quite met, I’m still glad I got the chance to read new works by her.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 8th, 2017

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Depression & Other Magic Tricksjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils