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Marbles : mania, depression, Michelangelo, and me : a graphic memoirBy Forney, Ellen

Have you heard of the concept of graphic medicine? Comics can be used these days (since comics these days cover such wide topics) therapeutically and even educationally in doctor / patient settings. Ellen Forney has written a comic that has become a New York Times Bestseller about her experiences with Bipolar Disorder called "Marbles : Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me." Forney is already known for her comics she contributes to the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger, as well has other comics projects.

In "Marbles," the reader gets to experience Forney’s full range of emotion about the perception of the “crazy artist” as it relates to her identity. She worries that no longer being “crazy” will mean she’d be less creative. Over time, we see her accept the fact that she needs treatment and struggle to maintain a normal life and sense of identity she feels comfortable with. Figuring out the right mix of drugs is a big part of the process. Reading this book, you see the struggles of bipolar disorder, but ultimately get the picture that it is manageable. That is what makes this book so interesting, not just as a story, but as a concept. In "Marbles," Forney’s doctor gives her more than one biography to look at to get a sense of perspective, to help her understand that others have gone through this and that she will be able to as well. "Marbles" accomplishes the same thing, but probably much better. The graphic format is a language that Forney communicates so well with and the combinations of words and pictures give readers a better insight into Forney’s experiences.

I would recommend this comic to anyone who is interested in seeing what a bestselling comic memoir that is helping to expand the field of comics looks like. Anyone interested in bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses would enjoy this too. "Marbles" is a very human story, so almost anyone could love this comic. Also, it’s important to note that the comics format is still mostly male dominated, so it’s very exciting to see a queer woman comic author achieve such success!

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