Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell YP FIC POWELL

Ruth and Perry are step-siblings with a close bond. Their friendship is strengthened by their shared secrets of hallucinations. Ruth is a protector of all insect life and sees swarms of invisible insects everywhere. Perry is compelled to draw by a tiny wizard only he can see. As awesome as all that sounds, it means they are medicated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia respectively and travel through the world unsure of what is real and isn't and who they can turn to. Both find themselves pulling away from each other as they discover love and try different ways to reconcile reality in this strange and dark look at the magic and madness of adolescence.

FAIR WARNING: This is a Category Five Tearjerker. The title combined with loads of foreshadowing warns that the ending will not be a cheery one, but still doesn't lessen the impact of watching a young girl be consumed by madness. It may be one of the most genuinely creepy books I've read in a long time, because it's all based on what really can happen with mental illness. Everything about the art helps tell the story even the lettering which often forms into gibberish to show Ruth and Perry's inability to communicate with anyone besides each other. The hallucinations come in and out of nowhere so it's hard for the reader to get a handle on what is real or not. This makes it hard to read, so you have to pay close attention. This is one that may take several reads to really "get", but the art and writing is good enough that it’s worth the effort.

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