This is the 95% true story of how one girl sort of completely broke down and put all the pieces back together. Stacey Black (clever pseudonym!) decided to put herself into a mental hospital after she thought that punching her arm through a window several times was a good idea. She soon realizes that she is even more unhappy and unhealthy then she thought and realizes she isn’t going to be able to leave soon. Stacey makes some friends, questions everything about herself, resists opening up about anything to anyone, and hides everything until she just gives up. This is a comic about how to come back from going crazy.
Told as a graphic novel with very simple art, this pulls no punches in looking at the effects of mental illness on young people and those that surround them. And I mean SUPER simple art. However, I think the simplicity added a sense of realism for me. Everything was drawn so simply that I added the details with my mind. It intersperses chapters with interviews about Stacey with her friends and status updates from her psychiatrists. This works really well because you get to see how mental illness affects everyone around a person and how easy it is for it to go ignored. This is one of the most completely realistic looks at mental illness and treatment I have ever read. It can be tough to read at times because it seems like Stacey may never break through, but it has a wonderfully hopeful ending. If you enjoy realistic stories of troubled youth and the constant presence of hope then give this one a shot. If you do end up liking it you can keep up with Tracey White’s continuing comics at www.traced.com