- Paperback: 516 pages
- Publisher: Lion Forge (October 3, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1941302416
- ISBN-13: 978-1941302415
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.4 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lighter Than My Shadow Paperback – October 3, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: A vast number of thoughtful books about mental illness and eating disorders already exist, so it seems almost impossible that a new story could add anything more to the genus. But Katie Green does exactly that with her astonishing graphic memoir that reveals through every delicate squiggle the long-lingering anguish people in recovery live through while friends and family assume that everything is now A-OK. A normal child growing up among a normal family, Katie develops bulimia as a teen, eventually requiring hospitalization, and she is pulled from school while she learns to eat again. An alternative treatment therapist helps pull Katie through her rough spots, but as Katie discovers once she’s older, his therapy was not completely benign. Artist and storyteller Green exposes buried-deep emotions through the slope of a shoulder or the slightly-too-big distance between her characters in a way that can’t be mimicked through words. The impact of Katie’s loneliness and constant, low-level despair drives deep into the soul but paradoxically will open your own heart and eyes. You’ll finish this determined to look more closely at your friends and loved ones—and especially your children—to make sure you’re not missing what’s masked by a benign surface. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Green chronicles her struggles with an eating disorder. In high school, when her weight dropped dangerously low, she underwent treatment for anorexia; in college, she restricted what she ate and engaged in binge eating. For Green, food was intricately linked to her constant pursuit of perfection; despite high grades, she was rarely satisfied with her achievements. She offers a nuanced exploration of the other factors that contributed to her disorder, such as finicky childhood eating habits, negative and positive comments about her body, and unwanted sexual advances from a predatory self-professed healer. Straightforward text and vivid imagery combine for a powerful, achingly honest memoir. Spare artwork devoid of color other than beige, gray, or sepia backgrounds reflects Green's despair. Controlled linework gives way to arresting, chaotic imagery. A cloud of scribbled black lines, symbolizing Green's ever-present stream of self-criticism, threatens to engulf her. At times her nude body floats through space, whittled down or engorged, or is depicted with the skin flayed, revealing her organs. Green realistically portrays her transformation over time from a rigidly controlled adolescent stymied by fear of failure to a young woman willing to take risks. Though the book ends on an optimistic note, the author emphasizes that recovery is ongoing and that she still combats her anxieties and fears. VERDICT This intimate, unflinching title is an essential addition to graphic novel collections.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
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Her happy childhood was disrupted by oncoming puberty. Her best friend was growing up faster than Katie was, which drove them apart. Then there were bullying boys at school, where Katie’s achievement singled her out for more negative attention. Even her friends were catty to her about her lack of interest in the opposite sex. It all added up to a recipe for seeking ever more control over the one thing in her life she can control absolutely: what she eats. At first, her discipline, giving up junk food to start, made her feel healthy, but it soon came to consume her.
Lighter Than My Shadow has a very different look from most graphic novels, as you can see at the book’s website. Her figures are simple, dot-eyed stand-ins that resemble toys, but they have an impressive sense of motion and emotion. The poses are realistic and well-observed.
Most of the book is printed on grey or sepia paper, giving the whole thing a gloomy overtone that suits the material and focuses attention on the central figures. There are no gutters, and the borders between panels resemble torn paper edges. The despair that overtakes Green is shown as a black scribble, a simple but potent device that can be used as an overhanging cloud or a looming threat. Later on, she draws herself with a yawning open mouth in her midsection, the perfect image for how thinking about food and eating begins to define her.
Green’s portrayal of her life is very approachable, which makes her gradual slide into disorder all the more understandable. Her depiction of her mental state, of how all this made sense to her and even how some attempts at recovery were just more ways of trying to be good, is incredibly truthful. The straightforward art makes this readable by even those not used to comics. I hope this book reaches outside the usual graphic novel readers, because its message of Katie’s journey could help a lot of girls and women realize they’re not alone in their concerns and mental struggles. Anorexics sometimes feel as though they want to erase themselves, and the comic format is a perfect venue to illustrate that literally and symbolically. Her desire to make art infers her well-chosen images, using the visuals to represent her internal state of mind. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
Suitable for growing teens who thinks that they need to do things to fit in.