Title: Lighter Than My Shadow
Author: Katie Green
Type: Graphic Novel
Genre: Young Adult, Memoir
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Date published: October 3, 2017
Page Count: 515
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast.
But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.
Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.
Lighter Than My Shadow is an autobiography by Katie about her life and struggles facing body issues and eating disorders. The story is written through deliberately drawn graphics that not only tell the story through Katie’s eyes but brings the emotions and internal struggles of Katie to life.
Through the hand-drawn monsters to the black cloud of nothingness, readers can see Katie’s monsters as tangible objects, making her struggle seem all the more real. The story takes readers through her life, noting the people and events that have been affected and have affected her disorder.
Lighter than My Shadow really changed my view on what it meant to have an eating disorder or mental illness. It does not shy away from the dark and the ugly. It exposes readers to realize that it is anything but simple.
What I loved most about the story was the message that having recovered does not mean being fixed. Society often forgets that a person who was once sick can become sick again. That sickness isn’t a one-off thing. In Katie’s case, her eating disorders have defined her for most of her life. Although she showed no signs of it during one period didn’t mean that it was gone. “If I smiled, it didn’t mean I was no longer depressed.”
Lighter than my shadows really reminded me that sickness isn’t just a phase and that it can be recurring. It showed the complexities of it all and showed how depression or anorexia or any sickness is a simple problem in black and white.