Comics Roundup #53: “My Body in Pieces”

Although I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, it does not influence the thoughts and opinions I share about my reading experience below.

My Body in Pieces by Marie-Noëlle Hébert (illus.), transl. by Shelley Tanaka

Genre

Nonfiction — Memoir

Series

n/a

Pubbed

April 1, 2021

Goodreads summary

A deeply emotional graphic memoir of a young woman’s struggles with self-esteem and body image issues.

All Marie-Noëlle wants is to be thin and beautiful. She wishes that her thighs were slimmer, that her stomach lay flatter. Maybe then her parents wouldn’t make fun of her eating habits at family dinners, the girls at school wouldn’t call her ugly, and the boy she likes would ask her out. This all-too-relatable memoir follows Marie-Noëlle from childhood to her twenties, as she navigates what it means to be born into a body that doesn’t fall within society’s beauty standards.

When, as a young teen, Marie-Noëlle begins a fitness regime in an effort to change her body, her obsession with her weight and size only grows and she begins having suicidal thoughts. Fortunately for Marie-Noëlle, a friend points her in the direction of therapy, and slowly, she begins to realize that she doesn’t need the approval of others to feel whole.

Marie-Noëlle Hébert’s debut graphic memoir is visually stunning and drawn entirely in graphite pencil, depicting a deeply personal and emotional journey that encourages us to all be ourselves without apology. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

My Body in Pieces is a graphic memoir about the author’s struggle with self-esteem and body image issues throughout her childhood and into her early adulthood. We see how she is treated because of her weight and how such treatment affects her, and we see her become obsessed with her weight in order to acquire an “ideal” size. Although the book touches on but does not dig too deeply into topics such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders, I think the story could still be triggering for some folks.

This is a short graphic memoir at just over 100 pages. Even so, it was not a quick read. It’s a deep, emotional story that forces the reader to slow down to fully take it in. However, although I think it is a good read, I think the story was a bit too short and progressed too quickly. The flow of it was too episodic for my liking and seemed more like we are given snippets of moments that relate than a plot that flows smoothly from beginning to end. It’s not a format I like.

Art style

Hébert is a very talented artist. Although in its entirety the illustration style for this book isn’t one I favor, there were many panels that were so stunning that I had to pause to admire them. Such panels pop up toward the end. To me, the illustrations seem to become more detailed as I progressed through the story, and the detailed panels, the close-ups on the faces, were my favorites. I think, overall, the illustrations were very well done.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

It progressed too quickly and the illustration style isn’t one that I entirely like, but it was a good read.

I read an e-ARC, so unfortunately I do not have any sample images to show.

2 thoughts on “Comics Roundup #53: “My Body in Pieces”

  1. How much of the artwork is similar to that cover piece? I love the way that’s drawn, with graphite and very detailed, but I’m also used to covers sometimes not being very good representations of what’s inside. I wonder if this story would have been better suited to prose, to give it the time and space it needed? Or perhaps just a longer graphical format. It certainly sounds like it attmepts to address some difficult and powerful topics. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the illustration on the cover, which is part of the reason why I was interested in the book. Some of the illustrations are as detailed, but not all of them are. To me, the majority aren’t as detailed and are like smudges that get across the general idea — that sounds harsh, but that’s how they seem to me especially after seeing a panel with such a beautiful, detailed illustration that I spend a while there looking at it. But that’s just me. A lot of reviewers on Goodreads love the art.
      I think the graphic novel format works; it just would have been better if it was longer. That’s another thing I was expecting when I started reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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