If you search through the upcoming releases for new graphic novels, you’ll undoubtedly find a ton of graphic memoirs. Seemingly on the rise in the last few years, graphic memoirs likely found their footing with the success of such titles like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Joining the bunch is Ruby Elliott, better known on Tumblr as Rubyetc. Her simple art style has been paired with her portrayal of her own mental illness through a series of posts for the last several years. It’s All Absolutely Fine is Ruby’s first full length work, featuring never before seen comics and written sections on her own take on mental illness.
The wonderful thing about Absolutely Fine is that it will appeal to both fans and newcomers alike. The offbeat art and honest words in the first few pages are enough to draw the reader in quickly. Ruby splits the book into several sections and talks about different parts of her mental illness and how they affect her. She speaks of her difficulty with crushing depression coupled with bipolar disorder, eating disorders and the feelings of procrastination that we all feel.
In general, there seems like a few different reasons that graphic memoirs work so well. One reason being that the writer gets to illustrate (obviously) certain periods of their life. If they’re sitting down intent on drawing a graphic memoir, you can probably believe that they believe that graphic is the best medium for their story. But the reason that really sticks out with this title in particular is that Ruby is able to articulate her feelings of mental illness so well. There are sections in this book that are definitely funny but they are severely outnumbered by the ones where I stopped and uttered “wow” outloud. People oftentimes have a hard time describing what depression feels like to someone who has not suffered it. In Absolutely Fine Ruby becomes the people’s champion of explaining how mental illness can make you feel.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 – With the release of her first full length work, Ruby Elliot becomes a people’s champion for mental health and helps us all understand just a little bit better what it means to be depressed.