Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Ellen Forney

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  • Publisher: GOTHAM BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 228mm x 24mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 6 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1592407323
  • ISBN 13: 9781592407323
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 96,882

Product description

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.

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Author information

Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before her thirtieth birthday. A lifelong cartoonist, she collaborated with Sherman Alexie on National Book Award-winning "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, "and created Eisner Award-nominated comic books "I Love Led Zeppelin" and "Monkey Food: The Complete "I Was Seven in '75" Collection. "She teaches comics courses at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.

Customer reviews

By Nicola Mansfield 03 Jan 2013 5

Reason for Reading: This book talked to me and I had to read it. I'm bi-polar and had always been creative in various media. I had expanded into what I finally called "art" but since my various diagnoses and meds, I have not done my art or any form of creative expression besides my current so-called book reviews.

This gripped me right from the beginning. Ellen is Bipolar I, while I am a milder diagnosis but still I could relate to her in every way. I ended up taking notes while reading this at it really hit home with the connection between mood swings and creativity. I found myself crying during her description of her depression as she expressed it so well. The scene where she gets out of bed to make it to the couch to go back to sleep is heart-wrenching and was very emotional for me. That is a place I never want to find myself in ever again. The combination of Ellen's story mixed with the medical information she discovers and her own journey of finding just the right dosage of which medications is entertaining and informational. The book is going to be of much interest to those both familiar with the disorder and those coming to it with no previous knowledge. Forney also has a dark sense of humour which adds light to much of the darkness of the story. There are plenty of episodes and one-liners to laugh at. This was a brave book to write and a challenging book to read. When I realized how "real" it was going to be I wasn't sure I wanted to go there but I'm so glad I did. I have been getting back to my art in my head for the last year or so, even getting out the supplies, collecting canvases but haven't put pen, brush or glue to paper yet. Ellen has started me thinking I might just take the step and get the creativity out of my head again. A very personal book that spoke to me. A caveat. The book does contain full frontal nudity and Forney speaks openly of her bi-s*xuality, plus she is in her late 20's as the story starts so it is indeed a mature book for adults.

Review quote

"Forney's exhilarating and enlightening autobiographical portrait of her bipolar disorder (otherwise known as manic depression), takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster.... Her clear and thoughtful art provides a powerful, effective and brilliant illumination of this unforgettable adventure." --"Miami"" Herald" "Ellen Forney's memoir of her bipolar diagnosis and long pharmacopic trek toward balance is painfully honest and joyously exuberant. Her drawings evoke the neuron-crackling high of mania and the schematic bleakness of depression with deft immediacy. Forney is at the height of her powers as she explores the tenuous line between mood disorders and creativity itself." --"Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" "Dense with intellectual and emotional power, Forney's book is a treasure--as a memoir, as an artwork, and as a beautifully conceived and executed commentary on both mental experience and the creative life. With wit, humor, a wicked sense of the absurd, and eloquent insight into the beauty that shines through the mercurial life of the mind, this graphic memoir explores its subject with a particular precision and power. Forney should be read." --Marya Hornbacher, author of "Madness: A Bipolar Life" "Ellen's work has always been hilarious and sharp, but "Marbles" has an emotional resonance that shows new depth as an artist and a writer. This is an extremely personal, brave, and rewarding book." --Dan Savage, editor of "It Gets Better" and author of "The Kid " "I have always admired Ellen Forney's humor and honesty, but "Marbles" is a major leap forward. It's a hilarious memoir about mental illness, yes, but it's also an incisive study of what it means to be human and how we ache to become better humans. Amazing stuff." --Sherman Alexie, bestselling author of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" "Witty and insightful...T