Book Review

MARBLES by Ellen Forney

I received a gifted copy of MARBLES: MANIA, DEPRESSION, MICHELANGELO, & ME by Ellen Forney from Avery Books.

Rating: 5 / 5

MARBLES is a graphic memoir of the author’s life with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Ellen Forney is a cartoonist who makes her living from being creative. When she’s given a diagnosis of Bipolar, she grapples with what that means and with the need to go on medication. How will this impact her life, her relationships, and her work. Through the illustrations and text, she lays out her experiences with therapy, medications, research into other famous authors with mental health diagnoses, and her life today compared to her early days with the diagnosis.

Working in mental health, it is always a topic that interests me when it comes to nonfiction. When I received this graphic memoir, I knew I wanted to bump it up my TBR right away. Having someone who makes cartoons her livelihood, I was very interested to see how that would be put to work in describing the experience of being diagnosed with a mental illness.

Ellen Forney has done an excellent job of portraying the ups and the downs of her diagnosis and her experiences. While the medical community has come far in finding ways to treat mental illness, this account doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the brutal reality that finding the right cocktail of medications is a struggle. Often the side effects seem worse than the the disease the meds are meant to address.

The exploration of mental illness in the creative process as a whole was very interesting as well. Often those who are creative can be labeled as eccentric or different, but she looks at how some have been diagnosed in arrears with mental illnesses and how that impacted their work.

This is a memoir which combines art and words, full of dark humor and honest insights and I would definitely recommend picking it up. This was also a great pick for today’s #NonfictionBookParty photo prompt from @theocbookgirl for graphic memoirs.



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