I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels so when I was thinking about my reading goals for his year I knew I wanted to change this. I read a review of Katie Green’s Lighter than my Shadow towards the end of last year and I knew that I had to read this book.
Lighter than my Shadow is the true story of Green’s struggle with eating disorders, anxiety and sexual abuse. She chronicles how she went from being a picky eater as a small child to becoming someone who need to control every calorie and then completely losing all control.
You get a real sense of catharsis when reading Lighter than my Shadow. Hand illustrated, Green has poured her memories out on the pages. She revisits painful experiences, but also small incidents, phrases, and interactions and wonders if this contributed to her illness.
Her illustrative style is simple but deeply effective. The illness is displayed as a mass of frantically scribbled black lines, a dark cloud that descends and takes over. Green also demonstrates a real talent for capturing expressions and feelings with a few strokes of the pen. It eloquently communicates the reality of an illness that for people who have never experienced it, can be very hard to understand.
Katie Green will be joined by Matilda Tristram at Edinburgh International Book Festival do discuss the subject of graphic novels that help to heal on Saturday 9th August. You can buy tickets here. It will definitely be an interesting discussion.