Lighter Than My Shadow
Lighter Than My Shadow
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Annotation: Recounts the author's experiences with an eating disorder, stemming from being a picky eater in childhood and devolving into a dangerous disease. Contains Mature Material
Catalog Number: #6119568
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel Mature Content Mature Content
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 508 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-941302-41-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-941302-41-5
Dewey: 921
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Green's graphic memoir is a full and personal picture of anorexia and recovery from it in fits and starts. A picky eater as a kid, Green grows especially concerned about what she consumes in her early teens. As she strives for perfection in her homework and on her plate, food worries begin to overcome her. A growing blob of angry-looking black scribbles appears over her head, envelops her dysmorphic visions of herself, and follows food down her throat. After her concerned parents find a treatment program that helps her gain weight, Green decides she prefers the care of an alternative healer, a man who ends up doing much more harm than good, giving the teen another trauma to recover from. When she begins to binge-eat, her torso is shown covered by a gaping, hungry mouth. Eventually, a kind therapist helps Green better understand and forgive her compulsions. Green's precise grayscale drawings convey her illness with deep understanding, while her simplified face reflects the subtlest emotional shifts.
Publishers Weekly
Green looks back at a long struggle with anorexia in this hard-hitting graphic memoir, originally published in the U.K. Childhood fears led Green to develop rituals and routines to feel safe, which began to affect her eating habits (-Chew four times on the left... four times on the right... then two sips of water-). As Green grew into a teenager, these rituals-combined with her academic rigor and a barrage of offhand comments about her body-evolved into a focus on control and discipline in her eating, leading to extreme weight loss and professional intervention after she passes out at school. Minimal dialogue and narration keep the focus on Green-s grayscale artwork, which viscerally reflects how Green saw herself while in the grips of her eating disorder. Her body appears grotesquely distended in some scenes, she imagines slicing her thighs thinner with a cleaver in others; a scribbly black cloud is a constant presence, reflecting the inner voices she can-t escape. As the story moves into Green-s college years and beyond, she finds balance amid many setbacks but never sugarcoats the difficult and ongoing nature of recovery. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 UpGreen 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
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal Starred Review (8/1/17)
ALA Booklist (10/1/17)
Publishers Weekly
Wilson's High School Catalog
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12

"A gripping graphic novel about a woman's battle with eating disorders." — The Guardian

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 circumstances can collide, and normal behavior can soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.

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 that they prey on the weak, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure and to eventually find happiness.


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