In ‘Rock Steady,’ Ellen Forney Combines Mental Health Advice, Artistry and Wit

forneysmallflatNPR, May 17, 2018

Ellen Forney has a new book out, and the fact that it’s about mood disorders is just gravy. Maybe that sentence needs some explaining — starting with the “mood disorders” part. If you suffer from some form of depression or bipolar disorder, you’ve probably noticed a divide that exists amongst books on the subject. On the one side are probing, literary accounts of what it’s like to experience these illnesses — William Styron’s Darkness Visible, Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind. On the other side are books about coping. The latter, however comprehensive and necessary, tend to lack poetry (one exception is Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon). To do them justice, it’s hard to be poetic about communicating effectively with medical professionals, taking pills on schedule and getting enough sleep.

Unless, that is, you’ve got a special knack for making poetry look easy — which is to say, unless you’re Ellen Forney. The comic artist is known for writing in a friendly and lovely way about riot girls, drugs, political activism and, in 2012, her battle with bipolar disorder. The bestselling Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me showcases the combination of traits that make Forney particularly well-suited to address a difficult and dangerous topic like mental illness. Her writing is unpretentious, occasionally goofy and manifestly replete with love for her fellow humans. Her art is full of love, too; her rich, swooping line seems to cradle the reader’s eye… READ MORE AT NPR.

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