BOOK: How I Made it to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story by Tracy White (2010)

I don’t know much about graphic novels — I think this is only the third one I’ve read (the other two were Watchmen and Maus) — but I know what I like, at least, and I really liked this one a lot.

It’s the “mostly true” tale of the author’s six months in a psychiatric hospital when she was 17, after severe depression left her suicidal.  It follows her through intake, making friends with her fellow patients, counseling sessions, and explorations and revelations about the myriad sources of her sadness (including body image issues, drug addiction, and some pretty crappy mothering).

In between chapters are little interviews with her friends, providing an outsider’s view to balance out her insider perspectives on her personality, problems, and coping strategies.  It’s sarcastic and moving, and the art is simple (black and white ink drawings) and clean, yet somehow managed to convey a wide range of emotional depth.

The only problem I had with it was that I felt it ended incredibly abruptly — suddenly, we turn the page and bam!  She’s cured!  Well, but, er. . .   I would’ve liked a smoother transition, and more of an explanation, somehow, of what finally pulled her the last measure out of her sadness.  Perhaps she doesn’t know, though — fair enough.

Aside from that (minor) quibble, though, I found this short book extremely honest and darkly funny — two very grand qualities in any kind of art, if you ask me.

Highly recommended, and here’s hoping White is working on a sequel right now!  I’m definitely interested in exploring more works in this genre, by the way, so if you have any favorite graphic novels, hit the comments for me?


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4 Responses to “BOOK: How I Made it to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story by Tracy White (2010)”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Dude, you’ve gotta follow up those fine graphic novels with The Walking Dead. You will NOT be sorry.

  2. megwood Says:

    Oh yes! I meant to read those! I also read a comic book series called “Rotten” that you might like, Melissa. It’s a zombie Western. Look for it!

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