Nov. 6th, 2014

sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Sherlock glass)
I really liked The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino, a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here including self-harm, thoughts of suicide, OCD symptoms, and food issues, which some readers will no doubt want to avoid or approach with caution.

I loved the no-nonsense honesty of this book. Porcellino doesn't have a lot of regard for his doctors, who misdiagnose him and don't show him much compassion. He furthers his studies with Buddhism and finds comfort in koans. Especially stark for me were panels depicting experiences of pain and mental illness, successfully using simple line drawings to show tension and pain.

What I continually admire from graphic memoirists is their ability to be so forthright about their experiences. Body, mind, soul, relationships are laid out on the page for all to see. I wonder if the simple cartoon format works as a distancing mechanism for the author.

Highly recommended.

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