Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me

Author(s): Ellen Forney

Graphic Novels

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Suffering from (but enjoying) extreme mania, and terrified that medication would cause her to lose creativity, she began a long struggle over many years to find mental stability while retaining her creativity. Searching to make sense of the popular idea of the 'crazy artist', she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to "cure" an otherwise brilliant mind. Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forney's memoir provides a humorous but authentic glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist's work, as she shares her own story through black-and-white graphic images and prose.


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Humorous, insightful and occasionally outrageous graphic memoir of an artist suffering from (but enjoying) bipolar disorder.

Not only does her conversational intimacy draw readers in, but her drawings perfectly capture the exhilarating frenzy of mania and the dark void of depression...Forney's story should resonate with those grappling with similar issues, while her artistry should appeal to a wide readership. Kirkus (Starred Review) Ellen Forney's memoir of her bipolar diagnosis and long pharmacopic trek toward balance is painfully honest and joyously exuberant. Her drawings evoke the neuron-crackling high of mania and the schematic bleakness of depression with deft immediacy. Forney is at the height of her powers as she explores the tenuous line between mood disorders and creativity itself. -- Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home. Forney's exhilarating and enlightening autobiographical portrait of her bipolar disorder (otherwise known as manic depression), takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster, an authentic evocation of the author's journey. Her clear and thoughtful art provides a powerful, effective and brilliant illumination of this unforgettable adventure. Miami Herald Marbles isn't just a great story; it's proof that artists don't have to be tortured to be brilliant. Entertainment Weekly Dense with intellectual and emotional power, Forney's book is a treasure--as a memoir, as an artwork, and as a beautifully conceived and executed commentary on both mental experience and the creative life. With wit, humor, a wicked sense of the absurd, and eloquent insight into the beauty that shines through the mercurial life of the mind, this graphic memoir explores its subject with a particular precision and power. Forney should be read. -- Marya Hornbacher, bestselling author of Madness: A Bipolar Life

Ellen Forney is a graphic artist based in Seattle, USA. She is best-known for the illustrations she did for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian which won a National Book Award in the US and has sold 3.664 copies in the UK. Forney suffers from bipolar disorder.

General Fields

  • : 9781472106896
  • : Little, Brown Book Group Limited
  • : Robinson Publishing
  • : 0.381
  • : June 2013
  • : 234mm X 153mm X 13mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ellen Forney
  • : Paperback
  • : Nov-13
  • : en
  • : 741.5973
  • : 256
  • : chiefly Illustrationsstrations (black and white)