Category Archives: Autobiographies/Biographies

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

cover120802-mediumTitle: Quiet Girl in a Noisy World
Author: Debbie Tung
Genre: Graphic Novels
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publishing date: 7th of November 2017
ISBN: 9781449486068
Purchase Link: amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung’s experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie’s life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

Capture 3

My Review:

As an introvert this book was very appealing to me. It was a bit grueling going through the first pages hoping the author and illustrator would perfectly capture the essence of introversion. Page after page she hit introversion on the spot and conveyed her autobiographical story in a way that made me both smile, laugh and cringe, because I could absolutely understand where she was coming from.
Even though some of the quick comics were a little exaggerated, I believe that Debbie Tung managed to show the life of an introvert and the challenges introversion pushes upon introverts.

Capture 4

The illustrations are simplistic and grey scale which adds to a nostalgic feeling where we follow Debbie Tung from childhood to adulthood, from a miserable working to an artistic success.

The story she illustrates shows how society highly prefers extroverts over introverts, and how introverts need to early create survival mechanisms, because the introverted steel focus or researcher mastermind is not appreciated before we are far into adulthood.

The book visualizes the need both extroverts and introverts, and how these two conflicting personality types can work perfectly together by showing each other mutual respect and understanding.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from finish to end.

Advertisements

Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Title: Depression & Other Magic Tricks
Author: Sabrina Benaim
Genre: Poetry, Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Button Poetry
Publishing date: 22nd of August 2017
ISBN: 9781943735204

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50 million views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

My Review:

Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. Many of the poems you find in this book has previously been performed at button poetry, and now you can get your hand on them in the written form.

While reading this book, I found that reading each poem out loud gave a lot more of detail and I do not think any of the poems in this book ever were supposed to just sit on the page. These poems are supposed to be read out loud, they are supposed to be performed, it is the sound of each word and each pause that gives the poem their power.

There were many good poems in this collection, some poems I came to adore, and there were some poems I did not care for. If this collection lived up to the hype “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” created, I am not sure, but the poem was in this collection too. After reading the whole collection I do not think that each and every one of the poem lived up to “Explaining My Depression to My Mother”, but I found quite a few favorite poems.

My short list of favorite poems from this collection: “unrequited in nine acts” (below), “On getting over you for real” “on releasing light”

On overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this poetry collection, with it highs and lows, its battles and triumphs. The topics were easy to relate to and the issue of mental illness was overlying through the whole collection.

Ink in Water by Lacy J. Davis

Title: Ink in Water
Author: Lacy J. Davis & Jim Kettner
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs , Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
Publishing date: 1st of October 2017
ISBN: 9781626258310

Synopsis: At once punk rock and poignant, Ink in Water is the visceral and groundbreaking graphic memoir of a young woman’s devastating struggle with negative body image and eating disorders, and how she rose above her own destructive behaviors and feelings of inadequacy to live a life of strength and empowerment.

My Review:

As much as I wanted to enjoy this book and get carried a way with it, it took me a very long time to get into the story. The narrative is very straight forward with little distracting decor and it was supposed to be a touching story. Or, I thought it would be a touching story, instead it was a hard and gritty narrative of a very real battle with mental illness.

The rawness of the narrative and the very relateable additional issues that often tag along with mental illness made this book very hard for me to read. The story convey in a very real and hard way how mental illness can be there even if you are obviously unaware of it for a while.

IT shows how, even when you know you are sick, the biggest challenge of the battle is not the disease itself but recovery part. Mental health issues, like eating disorders, depression, OCD, they become a part of you and who you are. The disease become part of how you see yourself and you identity, and how are you supposed to recover from your identity?

Davis goes all the way out to show how real her struggle was and she is in not painting any rainbows or making any face-saving promises or painting rainbows. Yet her strong narrative still warrants hope and I would recommend the book for anyone who knows someone or themselves struggle with an eating disorder.

Kettner’s gritty artwork throughout the novel aids to the harsh narrative without sugar-coating anything. Nothing in a story like this needs sugar-coating, even if it makes the story harder to read, and both the author and the illustrator knows this.

To the Stars

mrsuluTitle: To the Stars: Autobiography of George Takei
Author: George Takei
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing date: 10th March 2015
ISBN: 9780743434201
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: For George Takei, the Star Trek adventure is intertwined with his personal odyssey through adversity in which four-year-old George and his family were forced by the United States government into internment camps during World War II.
Star Trek means much more to George Takei than an extraordinary career that has spanned thirty years. For an American whose ideals faced such a severe test, Star Trek represents a shining embodiment of the American Dream–the promise of an optimistic future in which people from all over the world contribute to a common destiny.

My Review:
The autobiography of George Takei, better know as the helmsman Mr. Sulu, is obviously a must read for any Trekkie out there. Though this book doesn’t require the reader to be overly familiar with the StarTrek universe. Takei’s story is a captivating, engaging adventure. Through his eyes we can see the issues he had to deal with for being a Japanese American, he grew up facing the anti-Japanese paranoia of WWII. He shares his memories from the camps, though retrospectively as he adds in adult elaborations. The discrimination he faces and the struggle for people to find a job, his experience with racism, and how he understand democracy and citizenship.
In his story he also elaborates on how it is to be a new actor, there are stories from set, behind the set, stories from people he has worked or volunteered with. Tales of triumph and setbacks, though even though he faced hardships the writing never turns into self-pity.
In the end, regardless what Takei is sharing, whether it is conversations or feelings, tender moments or triumphs, public or private, he always manages to make the story personal.
Though I will say my review this time might be slightly biased, I do firmly believe that this book is worth a read, even if you are not much of a StarTrek fan.