I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. about Everything.
by Orli Auslander
In a series of 100 illustrations with accompanying text, Orli Auslander has captured a mood and emotional ambivalence that will be all too familiar for readers: trying to be the best wife, mother, and friend she can be, while simultaneously feeling shitty about virtually everything she does. Confronting her daily experience with dark humor and brilliant and brutal honesty, she shows us how being an overindulgent mother makes her feel as terrible as the times when she can’t stand the sight of her kids; how saying yes to the wrong experiences and no to the right requests is equally bad; how her Jewish heritage complicates her relationships with her overly religious family and irreligious children; and how having a vagina is the ultimate inescapable struggle. With a distinctive, textured ink drawing style which brings to mind a female Robert Crumb and a neurotic Edward Gorey, I Feel Bad is a book that readers will buy for themselves and for a best friend, and where every reader will find the precise moment that Auslander voiced their own deepest anxiety in her poignant and hilarious illustrations.
3.5 of 5 Stars
I liked the concept behind this book more than the book itself. The artwork itself was done in a messy sketchy style. This organic feel to the drawing combined with some of the very personal sharing made me feel like I was getting a glimpse in someone’s diary. I like the concept of writing down and giving voice to all of the things that garbage that floats around in my head. By getting it all out on paper I can see how that could lessen the voice in daily life and be fairly healing in the long run.
I appreciated this book from a therapeutic sense and could even relate to a number of the drawings. That said, at times it made me a little uncomfortable. I’ve read much more graphic memoirs before and didn’t mind them. This felt almost more revealing than some tell-all books because of there isn’t really a story. It’s random things she feels bad about that vary in nature. I liked the open, honest, and blunt nature but at the same time was a little put off by the random sex that seemed thrown into the book.
Overall I think this is a great tool for expression and I’m glad the author has been able to share her work on a wider scale. This is a great technique to use to quiet your inner critic or judge. I do recommend giving it a try if only for the value that it might add to your own life if you decide to try a similar method of journaling your thoughts.
Big thanks to Blue Rider Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest review.