How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story
I hated myself so much I tried to erase me through drugs, self harm, and bulimia. I thought it was working, until it wasn’t and I ended up in a mental hospital. When I was writing this book I researched my own life, interviewing friends, getting hospital records and therapy documentation to help me create this almost true story about my alter ego Stacy Black.
Dimensions : 6.14 x 0.5 x 9.21
inchesPublisher : Roaring Brook Press; 1st edition (June 8, 2010)
Language : English
Hardcover : 160 pages
ISBN-10 : 9781596434547
ISBN-13 : 978-1596434547
Reading age : 14 years and up
Grade level : 9 – 12
Item Weight : 13.4 ounces
Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year. Yalsa Great Graphic Novel, Texas Maverick Graphic Nvoel
Gr 9 Up–White has created a semi autobiographical account of her battle with a mental disorder, bulimia, and drug addiction. Through a variety of formats, readers follow Stacy Black, 17, through this ordeal. The book is divided into chronological sections. Each one opens with text-only panels recording the responses of four friends to a question about Stacy. The densely packed text in these speech balloons requires some effort to wade through. This is followed by copies of documents such as portions of actual doctor and therapist reports. A series of panels then chronicles a period of Stacy’s stay at Golden Meadows, a mental hospital. These cartoon panels are highly compelling and the book’s strongest feature. White’s arrangement of figures within each panel, especially during therapy sessions, exposes Stacy’s emotional state. Changes in the artist’s point of view inform readers of the teen’s slowly changing perspectives of herself and her world. The line, “It’s never a good idea to lie your way through therapy” hints at the big reveal in the final pages of the book: Stacy has hidden her episodes of bulimia from the hospital staff. While she tells the group, “I used to be bulimic. I don’t have the urge anymore,” she is continuing her ongoing dialogue with the toilet in her room. Young adults willing to stay with Stacy through the dense textual passages will find a compelling story.–Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“White’s “mostly true story” begins when seventeen-year-old Stacy Black enters Golden Meadows Hospital in an attempt to feel like herself again―whoever that is. Ostensibly Stacy works toward her goal of being happy again, earning privileges at the hospital and even becoming close friends with another patient. But she moves both forward and backward in her recovery, clinging to an unhealthy relationship with Eric, offering advice she cannot take, and refusing to be open and honest about her thoughts and actions.
“Stacy’s story of anxiety, abuse, self-harm, addiction, and depression, is also a story of an interesting, creative young woman and her friends, a veritable chorus that adds perspective and insight into Stacy’s struggles. White’s images are as intense and telling as the written text. Comparisons to Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted (Random House, 1993) are unavoidable: both are stories of self-discovery, memoirs of the female authors’ time in mental health facilities during their late adolescence. Both Kaysen’s and White’s stories are fascinating and frustrating. Most significantly, both memoirs stop short of offering easy solutions to complicated problems. White’s perspective is honest, often unflinchingly and quite unsympathetic to her adolescent self. Still it is made clear why Stacy is likeable and loyal. More honest than Cut (Front Street, 2000/VOYA February 2001), more intriguing even than Girl, Interrupted, White’s novel uses stark black-and-white imagery to construct her frank and honest story of a fraught adolescence.” ―VOYA
“Tracy White’s “mostly true” graphic novel, How I Made It to Eighteen (Roaring Brook, 2010), begins when the 17-year-old narrator checks herself into Golden Meadows Hospital after smashing a glass window with her fist. Struggling with depression, exhaustion, and drug addiction, Stacy Black just wants to feel like herself again (“I just don’t know who ‘me’ is anymore”). Described with stark candor, her recovery is heart-wrenching and hard-won, as she wrestles with issues of self-esteem and body image, hangs on to an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, and refuses to admit to anyone–even herself–that she has an eating disorder. Meanwhile, her interactions with the other patients reveal her to be a caring, encouraging, and creative individual, and her desire to get better is both earnest and inspiring. White’s artwork is as unflinchingly honest as her narrative, and the graphic-novel format keeps the pacing slow and deliberate, allowing the emotional content to truly sink in. Interview-style commentary from four of Stacy’s friends appears throughout, rounding out the main character and illustrating that these girls struggle with many of the same issues. Words and pictures work flawlessly together to paint an unsentimental, poignant, and telling picture of an arduous experience, revealing that while there are no easy answers, there’s a whole lot to work toward and hope for.” ―School Library Journal