Mini Review: Night Shift by Debi Gliori


May Contain Spoilers

Night Shift is a thin volume of brilliant illustrations depicting the author’s struggle with depression. As I read it, it touched very close to home. I struggle with anxiety. At times it is all encompassing. It sucks the joy out of many activities that I had been looking forward to. Vacations become nightmares. Travel days, especially if they involve an airport and the TSA, keep me awake at night days before the trip begins. I get sucked into a black hole of what if what if what if. What if I miss the flight. What if someone steals my bag at security (this almost happened, and now it is a constant fear). The anxiety dominates fear about work. What if I make a mistake. What if I can’t get everything finished in time.  What if I get fired?

Using images of dragons to represent her bouts of depression, the illustrations build in intensity as the monstrous creatures follow her from one page to the next, becoming ever more prominent, bursting into flame in one dramatic flash of color.  The hopelessness, the indifference of those around you, the fear of suffering through the darkness all alone. The author fruitlessly attempting to find a road map to “normal” and understanding why you don’t think like everyone else. I have been through all of this, too.

If you are struggling through depression and have no one to talk to, please all National Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255. Someone will be there to talk to you.

Grade: 4 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

‘Debi Gliori is amazing. Her pictures offer people an insight into depression that words often struggle to reach. She makes visible the invisible. And I for one want to thank her for that.’
– Matt Haig, bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive
A groundbreaking picture book on depression with stunning illustrations.
With stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori examines how depression affects one’s whole outlook upon life, and shows that there can be an escape – it may not be easy to find, but it is there. Drawn from Debi’s own experiences and with a moving testimony at the end of the book explaining how depression has affected her and how she continues to cope, Debi hopes that by sharing her own experience she can help others who suffer from depression, and to find that subtle shift that will show the way out.
‘I have used dragons to represent depression. This is partly because of their legendary ability to turn a once fertile realm into a blackened, smoking ruin and partly because popular mythology shows them as monstrous opponents with a tendency to pick fights with smaller creatures. I’m not particularly brave or resourceful, and after so many years battling my beasts, I have to admit to a certain weariness, but I will arm-wrestle dragons for eternity if it means that I can help anyone going through a similar struggle.’

Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 25 by Yoshiki Nakamura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Holy Cow!  Sometimes I just have to get that off my chest.  The 25th volume of Skip*Beat! ROCKED!  The drama was cranked up when Sho made a surprise appearance during the filming of Kyoko and Ren’s TV show and WOW!  He really knows how to stir up trouble.  And best yet, how to get under Kyoko’s skin.  Jealous when he thought that she was hung up on Reino, a rival singer, Sho wanted to make sure Kyoko knew what she was missing.  Delivering a huge bouquet brimming with all the things he thought she’d love, he throws down the gauntlet.   He’ll not be overshadowed by the Beagle or by smarmy Ren, either!

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Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 24 by Yoshiki Nakamura

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Valentine’s Day seems like a complicated occasion in Japan.  It’s no wonder it gave Kyoko so much trouble in the 24th volume of Skip*Beat! Her interactions between the men in life are confusing to say the least.  There’s Sho, who tromped on her heart but now reluctantly harbors feelings for her, and Reino, the lead singer of a rival band of Sho’s, who stalked her and now that he’s captured one of Kyoko’s grudges, is demanding chocolates made with “her true feelings” from him before he’ll return what he’s stolen from her.  And then there’s Ren.  Ren.  Ren!  The guy who has gone out of his way to help her navigate the cut-throat world of show biz, but does she give even the slightest regard for his feelings?  No.  No.  No!  Sigh.  Kyoko, you need to worry more about the people who care about you because of who you are, and less about those who only want to manipulate you.

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Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volumes 22 and 23

I’ve been in a manga kind of a mood recently.  I’ve been reading some new series that caught my attention, as well as trying to catch up on some of my favorites that I’ve fallen behind on.  Skip*Beat! is one of those.  Kyoko is a fun protagonist; she’s a good girl who had her heart stomped on by the guy she loved, and now she’s out for revenge.  Sho is an up and coming celebrity, and in order to get back at him, Kyoko is determined to become more popular than he is.  When she’s in a rage, she’s possessed by her anger, which causes dramatic, and usually, hilarious results.

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Graphic Novel Review: Food Wars! Vol 1 & 2 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

I like food so I thought I’d give Food Wars! a try.  I thought the first volume was okay, but it didn’t blow me away.  Soma’s family owns a diner, and Soma’s number one goal in life is to be a better cook than his dad.  I love this storyline; it kept me reading The Prince of Tennis for a long time (and I need to catch up on that one!).  I’m not sure why I find this trope so appealing, but it is one of my favorites.  The protagonist working to hone his skills, hoping to one day surpass the person who taught him almost everything he knows, yeah, I really like that.

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Graphic Novel Review: Vinland Saga Volume 3 by Makoto Yukimura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I love this series, and I can’t figure out why.  It is violent and depressing, peopled with unlikeable characters.  These guys are unrepentant killers.  They cheerfully engage in murder and thievery, and most lack even the barest sense of honor.  I hate Askeladd, and was really hoping Thorkell would bash his head in with his mighty axe, but no!  The evil, self-serving marauder did not meet his end in the third volume of Vinland Saga.

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Manga Review: Limit Volume 2 by Keiko Suenobu

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

It’s been a long time since I read the first volume of Limit, but I didn’t have any trouble picking up where I left off.  Only five high school students have been left alive after a terrible bus crash in the mountains of Japan, and they are struggling to survive with hardly any supplies.  Personalities clash from the get-go, so not only are they fighting the elements, they are fighting each other.  Morishigi, a victim of bullying, has the only weapon, and she wants some pay-back for all of the humiliation she’s suffered at school.  Konno, a pretty, popular girl, mocked Morishigi mercilessly, so now she gets a taste of grief.  Forced to fight with one of her friends, a girl who is smoldering with jealousy of Konno, Ichinose hesitates to lash out at her friend when Morishigi taunts her,  ripping apart her friendship with Konno and driving Ichinose into a rage.   Yeah, these guys need a conflict mediator, so they are lucky to have Kamiya.

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Graphic Novel Review-Wolfsmund V2 by Mitsuhisa Kuji

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Okay, so, ugh, this series is not my cup of tea.  That thought that I had after reading the first volume? You know, when I thought that William Tell’s son would be the protagonist and lead the brutalized populace to victory?  Nope, didn’t happen.  This installment is yet again a mish-mash of the Austrians beating, torturing, raping, and hanging the hapless citizens of the Alps.  Only that bloodthirsty prick Wolfram manages to glide unscathed from one gruesome chapter to the next, and I didn’t like that.  I don’t like him, and I don’t like the way this series makes me feel.  Talk about a downer. 

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