Monday, March 24, 2014

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

Lighter Than My Shadow is artist Katie Green's brave and unsentimental account of the years she has spent overcoming an eating disorder.

This hefty 508-page memoir unfolds in clean line drawings, mostly in shades of gray. Green's illness is represented with clouds of messy black marks, varying in size depending on her state of health. It's a powerful visual choice, effective in the way of David B's representation of his brother's illness in Epileptic.

Images, rather than words, are the main vehicle for Green's story. Text balloons are patches lighter in colour than the medium gray background, not outlined. The black hand-lettering is easy to read.

Green has reserved the palest shades for people. There is just enough detail to make it easy to identify the different characters. An overall textured effect, as of graphite on rough paper, unifies the panels beautifully.

See images of Katie Green's artwork on her website here.

I was riveted by Green's story and grateful for her insights into the internal process of regaining mental health. It's an adult book that older teens will also appreciate.

Readalikes: Unbearable Lightness (Portia de Rossi); Wintergirls (Laurie Halse Anderson); Page by Paige (Laura Lee Gulledge); How I Made It to Eighteen (Tracy White).

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