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Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

Lighter Than My Shadow (edition 2013)

by Katie Green

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353321,274 (4.27)8
Title:Lighter Than My Shadow
Authors:Katie Green
Info:Jonathan Cape (2013), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2013 challenge

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Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green



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A heavy read in more senses than one - it's a large tome and physically imposing, on a subject that is hard to read.

As a parent of youngish children I found myself reading it trying to spot things I should avoid doing in bringing them up - not the point though obviously not an invalid reaction. The thing that is scary and impressive is how the eating disorder didn't come out of any specific childhood trauma or any parental discouragement of weight gain or horrific schoolday bullying or anything that you could sensibly try to avoid as a parent. As a method of trying to control a sometimes scary and unpredictable world it came out of a reaction to the sorts of pressures that all of us face when growing up. That makes it even more scary - it's something that could happen to anyone, if you like, in the initial stages.

One picky comment - I found it hard at various times to tell whether a word balloon was intended as a speech balloon or a thought balloon. The word balloons have thin and rather faint lines connecting them to the person speaking and it's easy not to notice these, or to have to look again at the though balloons to be sure there is no line. That lead me to wonder more than once whether some thoughts were spoken out loud or not. In a way that perhaps gives an unexpected extra effect in that to Katie those thoughts will have seemed so loud maybe they felt almost as if they were spoken out loud or could have been heard by others? ( )
  comixminx | Jan 4, 2014 |
Beautifully drawn and stunningly told this is an autobiographical tale of mental illness, of anorexia, of growing up and the path to overcoming, to forgiving. A very realistic path, a slow one and sometimes a harsh one through early happy childhood to traumatic anorexia of teenage & collage years and the journey to get better. The relapse showed by sexual abuse of a therapist is as sensitively portrayed as it is deeply shocking.

Green explores the journey, from early pressures on how we should look, the destructive use of perfectionism and the need to control. I don’t think I have seen anorexia and eating disorders explained so well elsewhere. Of course this is also down to the artwork, not only lovely but so entwined with the story it tells: from the hungry mouth embedded within the stomach to the shadow of depression that hangs over or is locked deep inside. Pages change hue to reflect the emotion of the story, panels cluster and fracture apart. If it seems like a large chunkster it really isn’t, this story needs much space to tell but hours to enjoy.

Highly recommend. It is exactly what it needs to be, informative, understanding, heart breaking and kind. ( )
  clfisha | Dec 30, 2013 |

Katie is a friend so this may not be a totally unbiased review! However I am glad to say that I did love the book. Katie has struggled with an eating disorder and this is her autobiography showing her descent into anorexia and her recovery as well as the fact she was abused by a counsellor. As such it is a deeply personal journey and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. It’s also a bit of a door stop of a book at 500ish pages but I was able to finish it in one sitting and it doesn’t feel long at all. Katie was a picky and slow eater as a child and had that struggle such children have with their parents, being made to eat cold food etc. From these beginnings we see her struggle with school, become anorexic and her long slow recovery. Her eating disorder is brilliantly portrayed as a black cloud of squiggles which grows or shrinks as the story progresses and what is clear is that the big black cloud doesn’t only affect Katie but also her whole family.

You can see a 24 page preview here: http://lighterthanmyshadow.com/book-excerpt/ and an interview with Katie in the Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/28/anorexia-affects-everyone-fa... This is the best sort of graphic novel where the words and pictures combine to make a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. I was gripped and left wanting more at the end which is the sign of a good book I feel.

Overall – Highly recommended autobiography ( )
  psutto | Oct 11, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0224090984, Paperback)

A beautiful, heartbreaking and ultimately heart-lifting graphic memoir.
     Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She'd sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she'd have to eat it for breakfast.

     But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly. One day you can find yourself being told you have two weeks to live.

     Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the weak, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:21 -0400)

Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She'd sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she'd have to eat it for breakfast. But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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