Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir
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Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between “crazy” and “creative” in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers.
Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity.
Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to “cure” an otherwise brilliant mind.
Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forney’s memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist’s work, as she shares her own story through bold black-and-white images and evocative prose.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Smart, fun, informational, graphic
Forney's memoir lets us in on what it is to be a crazy artist, and understand the fears for many creatives—what will happen to my art if I take medication? She manages to make a work that makes you understand the depths of depression without being depressing, and makes you cringe a little through her manic episodes. Through the entire swing of the book she maintains a sparkling sense of humor.
This graphic novel views quite well on my retina display iPad. If I were using a lower resolution or smaller device, I would want to get a physical book instead. The pages are only viewable in full spreads format. It would be nice if the publisher allowed portrait mode viewing of single pages, as well.
I was not expecting this book to be this strange. It is very hard to read since it is written in the form of a cartoon. Hard to follow because you can't see the actual words on the page.
i read it in two sittings! i was drawn in immediately and didn't want to put it down. great art work and easy to read text. it's very brave story. thank you, ellen.