Saturday, February 4, 2017

What I've Read: I Feel Bad by Orli Auslander

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for review.

I Feel Bad. All Day. Every Day. About Everything is a deft graphic exploration of guilt. Each page features an illustration and a reason why the author has felt guilty about something, collected into 100 drawings and reasons in total. These deeply personal reminsciences are unflinchingly candid and resonantly therapeudic. Particularly striking are Auslander's comments on parenthood; in a world where mommy bloggers dominate and Instagram-ready images of perfect families abound, Auslander's depictions of the frustration, humor, and guilt of parenting are refreshingly candid. Some of the reasons she "feels bad" can feel repetitive, but there is also a rich tapestry of areas Auslander explores in a short time and small space. She touches upon the cultural, personal, mental, emotional, and gendered, and how these factors all tie into daily life, family history, and family rearing. It's tempting to wish that the text was more memoir interspersed with drawing, but this type of honesty is stark, refreshing, and in its short form becomes even more impactful. The humor of her entries is more dark than one might anticipate, but that's a feature, not a bug: when dealing with this level of emotional intimacy, being completely light-hearted would feel much more jarring.

I would recommend this short read in particular for fans of Allie Brosh and Laurie Notaro.

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