Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Comics, like all media, are primarily there to entertain, but can at times inform and educate the reader. While I’m usually looking to be entertained, and prefer to avoid creators who bring their sociological and political agenda to the work for hire world of comics, if it’s your own playground do your own thing and if I like it I’ll stay. If not, there is always something by someone else to try.
Soft Skull Press is not a playground I normally find myself in, but this month Katie Green’s graphic novel Lighter than my Shadow hit close to home, and I had to read it. Reading about how Katie went from a finicky eater, to the binging and purging, to the realization she was anorexic reminded me how scared I was when a close friend was almost lost to the same compulsion.
With each page of the book, the past was relived and I was right alongside Katie’s journey to recovery and how hard my friend’s journey has been. Katie’s passion for drawing and storytelling makes this a unique blend of self-discovery and recovery using the graphic story medium.
The line work evokes the ephemeral existence of Katie as she seems to fade away before family and friends. While family will try to do anything to save her, it has to be Katie’s decision to survive, and it is her will to live that comes through in this story.
This book shows you what comics can do and do well particularly when it’s a personal story. Whether Katie Green has any other stories to tell, we will have to wait and see, and be glad she lives to tell this story right now.
~ Steve Leaf