Question: Why is this book worth my own and the reader’s attention?
I read a number of books this week but the comic that I wished to focus most upon was Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green. This was a quick read for me and while I could never say that I enjoyed the story (I find that “enjoy” is never the right word when referring to something so emotionally trying) I was certainly engrossed.
Over the next two weeks in class we are working on the principles of nonfiction. My group is focusing on subject treatment which was a focus for me while reading. While Eating Disorders are a prominent topic in pop culture the treatment is, generally, very poor. Oftentimes, eating disorders are glamorized or positioned far too lightly. This is why I found Green’s book so important.
Green shows her eating disorder in a manner that does not shy away from the ugly pieces of the disease. When drawing herself at her skinniest the character Katie is not portrayed as beautiful; she is boney, her body sags, her clothes do not fit, her hair thins, and she grows more body hair (an oft-ignored symptom of an eating disorder). Green portrays her eating disorder around the theme of inward control rather than merely focusing on the cosmetic. Katie looks to praise herself for her discipline when she initially begins the disease and even into her first round of treatment but then as she begins to spiral after her second round of treatment (an entire blog post could be written on her deeply disturbing “treatment”) she loses control and binges, another often ignored eating disorder symptom.
This book holds many adult themes and graphic depictions yet I would still recommend it to teenagers in the library. As this is an important topic that is frequently poorly portrayed in popular culture it would aid many in gaining an understanding of the vulnerability and lifelong affects of Eating Disorders.
Observant Note: I would be interested in a discussion of the style of this book as well. Due to the way it was drawn (people were drawn only in white) there is no representation of any people of color in the book as that would mean breaking the style. However, perhaps there were people of color in the crowd scenes that were still depicted in white to fit the rest of the style…. perhaps this wasn’t the point of the book and I’m reading too deeply? I would be interested in the thoughts of others on this, do we sacrifice reality for style, is this wrong?