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Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir Paperback – November 6, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592407323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592407323
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Forney, who has garnered both Harvey and Eisner Award nominations for her comic strips and collections that address living happily and mostly safely in alternative cultures (including the call-girl profession), now provides readers with a still-lighthearted but genuinely serious view of her battles with bipolar disorder. Between 1998 and 2002, she worked with a psychiatrist to diagnose and then treat her manic-depressive swings. In her signature black-and-white cartoons, detailed just enough to pop from the page, Forney takes readers on an insightful and provocative tour of such issues as whether or not artistic creativity is numbed by treatment; the huge expense of psychotropic drugs and difficulty finding health insurance that covers mental health; how treatment has led her to be a better friend, collaborator, and independent earner; and other tributaries stemming from the big question of “What is really going to work to make this better?” A solid choice for mental-health collections as well as those of artists’ memoirs and graphic novels. --Francisca Goldsmith

Review

A Washington Post Best Book of 2012

Named one of the best books of the year by East Bay Express



Named Best Graphic Novel of Fall 2012 by Time



"Brutally honest and deeply moving, the book is by turns dark, mordant, and hilarious. One of this year's best American memoirs." —Philadelphia Inquirer



“Forney’s exhilarating and enlightening autobiographical portrait of her bipolar disorder (otherwise known as manic depression), takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster….  Her clear and thoughtful art provides a powerful, effective and brilliant illumination of this unforgettable adventure.”
Miami Herald



"Ellen Forney's memoir of her bipolar diagnosis and long pharmacopic trek toward balance is painfully honest and joyously exuberant. Her drawings evoke the neuron-crackling high of mania and the schematic bleakness of depression with deft immediacy. Forney is at the height of her powers as she explores the tenuous line between mood disorders and creativity itself."
Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic



“Dense with intellectual and emotional power, Forney's book is a treasure—as a memoir, as an artwork, and as a beautifully conceived and executed commentary on both mental experience and the creative life. With wit, humor, a wicked sense of the absurd, and eloquent insight into the beauty that shines through the mercurial life of the mind, this graphic memoir explores its subject with a particular precision and power. Forney should be read.”
—Marya Hornbacher, author of Madness: A Bipolar Life



"Ellen's work has always been hilarious and sharp, but Marbles has an emotional resonance that shows new depth as an artist and a writer. This is an extremely personal, brave, and rewarding book."
—Dan Savage, editor of It Gets Better and author of The Kid



"I have always admired Ellen Forney's humor and honesty, but Marbles is a major leap forward. It's a hilarious memoir about mental illness, yes, but it's also an incisive study of what it means to be human and how we ache to become better humans. Amazing stuff."
—Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian



“Witty and insightful…The long journey of medication and therapy is kept from gloom by Forney’s lively, likable cartooning … Readers struggling with their own mania or depression will find Forney good company, and others searching for insight into the minds of troubled artists will find Forney an engaging storyteller.”
—Starred Publishers Weekly



“Not only does her conversational intimacy draw readers in, but her drawings perfectly capture the exhilarating frenzy of mania and the dark void of depression….Forney’s story should resonate with those grappling with similar issues, while her artistry should appeal to a wide readership.”
—Starred Kirkus Reviews



"Marbles isn't just a great story; it's proof that artists don't have to be tortured to be brilliant."
Entertainment Weekly, Grade "A" Review



“Is it weird to call a memoir about bipolar disorder entertaining? Well, this one is, thanks to the ease with which Forney translates her vivacious, fearless personality to the page…. Forney has a virtuosic understanding of what words and images can do in congress, playing them off one another in ways that allow her pages to be more than the sum of their parts.”
—Myla Goldberg, NPR.org

Marbles is more than a survivor’s story…It is a book about Forney’s struggle to come to terms with herself, which is similar to the struggle everyone must undergo.”
—Los Angeles Times


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Customer Reviews

Reason for Reading: This book talked to me and I had to read it.
Nicola Mansfield
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes Forney, has or knows someone who has bipolar disorder, or is interested in graphic memoirs.
Reader
With her amazing graphics, Ellen Forney presents a brilliant and very personal story of mania and depression.
ProfMB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Reader on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read every graphic memoir I can find and got an early copy of this. I found it so compelling that I couldn't put it down. Analysis aside, Marbles is a great and entertaining read. But it is also much more than that.

Forney's graphic account of her experience is, like her other work, at times funny but never in a way that ignores the conflict and complexity the subject matter warrants. Her account, in particular, of her struggles with bipolar disorder is remarkable for the way that it documents her current self looking back and providing some context for the experience as well as the difficult-to-capture immediacy that is such a disabling (or, alternately, hyper-abling) part of the experience of bipolar disorder.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes Forney, has or knows someone who has bipolar disorder, or is interested in graphic memoirs.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Chapati VINE VOICE on November 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ellen Forney's graphic novel Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me is one of those that instantly appealed to me. I enjoy graphic novels, and for some reason, I really enjoy memoirs in the comic format (I don't particularly like memoirs in other formats). I don't know much about mental illness, so I thought reading about it from the POV of someone who deals with it on a daily basis would be a good way for me to learn more.

The book is about a bipolar woman struggling to be normal. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder right around the time she reaches age 30 and shares a very intimate story about her struggles with it. Forney is an artist, and a lot of the medication prescribed for bipolar disorder can inhibit creativity. Forney doesn't want to lose her edge or her inspiration, so she isn't sure that she wants to be medicated. But at the same time, she hates the ups and downs of manic-depression and wants very much to get healthy.

Forney does a lot of research into artists that struggled with mental illness, pointing out that many of the world's great artists struggled with some sort of disease while working at their art. Edvard Munch's The Scream is an iconic painting that could be a visual representation of a horrible hallucination. Sylvia Plath's writing was heavily influenced by her stay in a mental hospital. Etc., etc. Forney wonders if she will lose her edge by getting better.

This is an intensely personal memoir, sometimes uncomfortably so. Forney tells her story in simple, black and white drawings (though the art she shares from her personal journal is much more detailed and complex), but the events themselves are not at all simple. Bipolar disorder has many, many symptoms.
Read more ›
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By margieebee on November 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have my B.S.in Psychology and my J.D.(law). I also am an individual with mental health issues, specifically major depression and anxiety disorder NOS.

I absolutely adore this author's style of drawing. The book is printed entirely in black and white, but I chose to color in some some of the quotes, objects that I identified with or found important, etc. I found this act to be incredibly therapeutic!

Additionally, I enjoyed the author's balance of words and graphics- I didn't feel bogged down by tiny writing, nor did I feel that I was flipping quickly through pages containing only graphics.

Finally, her story is incredibly engaging. This book is much, much more than a memoir. It is a memoir injected with a great deal of creativity, her personal story intertwined with the experiences of great artists.

Highly recommended!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anne Pritchard on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must say, that most of my recent "reads" have all been Kindle-Freebies, but when I saw the review on this title in Publishers Weekly, the topic hit so close to home that I clicked through to BUY IT immediately.

I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours - the story of her years working through all the ups/downs of bi polar disorder were such a direct correlation of what my husband had to endure, that were it not for her humorous graphic relief in the telling of her own story, I think it would have reduced me to a puddle of tears, remembering all that we went through in the "finding the right meds" process.

Thank you Ellen for your open and candid sharing of your journey - as the wife of a bi polar, it really helped me to hear (and literally SEE) the things that my husband has shared with me over the years. So many parallels....

I've never read a graphic-style-novel (at least not since my last comic book as a kid) and that is one of the main reasons I wanted to own this one - not only is it a testament to your journey, but a totally unique piece of art as well.

Enjoyed it immensely...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JM Blaine on November 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
As an editor who happens to have a Master's in Psych (& is a lover of graphic novels)
Marbles works on every level. Beautifully crafted, honest & real -- this book entertains
& informs. Something sorely needed in a mental health field filled with unhelpful self-help books
telling you the same old thing in the same old dry-as-dust unfeeling and over-technical way.

Note to all those guru therapists in turtleneck sweaters -- commission Ellen Forney to help with your next book.
Heck, let her a version of the new DSM V....

A wonderful book
that will help
many people.
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