November 17, 2017

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Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green | SLJ Review

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redstarGREEN, Katie. Lighter Than My Shadow. illus. by Katie Green. 516p. Roar Comics/Lion Forge. Oct. 2017. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781941302415.

Gr 9 Up –Green chronicles her struggles with an eating disorder. In high school, when her weight dropped dangerously low, she underwent treatment for anorexia; in college, she restricted what she ate and engaged in binge eating. For Green, food was intricately linked to her constant pursuit of perfection; despite high grades, she was rarely satisfied with her achievements. She offers a nuanced exploration of the other factors that contributed to her disorder, such as finicky childhood eating habits, negative and positive comments about her body, and unwanted sexual advances from a predatory self-professed healer. Straightforward text and vivid imagery combine for a powerful, achingly honest memoir. Spare artwork devoid of color other than beige, gray, or sepia backgrounds reflects Green’s despair. Controlled linework gives way to arresting, chaotic imagery. A cloud of scribbled black lines, symbolizing Green’s ever-present stream of self-criticism, threatens to engulf her. At times her nude body floats through space, whittled down or engorged, or is depicted with the skin flayed, revealing her organs. Green realistically portrays her transformation over time from a rigidly controlled adolescent stymied by fear of failure to a young woman willing to take risks. Though the book ends on an optimistic note, the author emphasizes that recovery is ongoing and that she still combats her anxieties and fears. VERDICT This intimate, unflinching title is an essential addition to graphic novel collections.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2017 issue.

Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar (mdar@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

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