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Monday, January 21, 2013

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me

A graphic memoir about manic depression? Of course I want to read it, silly goose! This is Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney. Pass it over.

Ellen Forney has been a celebrated cartoonist for most of her life. All is well until she realizes one day that it isn't. She is diagnosed as bipolar and struggles for the next decade to get the peaks and valleys, which she can now name, under control. It's a long process fraught with drug changes, informing those around her, and acceptance of what it is. Ellen chronicles this with her trademark wit and drawings.

I love graphic novels for the exact same reason that I love musicals. I once heard someone describe musicals as necessary for hard or dark information. When we no longer have words, we sing. I feel that this is similar to the needs of graphic novels; sometimes words just aren't enough and a picture can tell us so much more of what we need to know with twice the emotional power.

I found this memoir to be touching and powerful. It is hard to watch someone you know and love spiral downward into their own mind, and it is even worse on the inside. I felt that Forney really captured the essence of the highs and lows of this disease while being so brutally honest with the reader about her struggles. I am so appreciative that she went out on a limb to present the realities of her disease as seen through her eyes.

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