Marbles by Ellen Forney

Posted 5 December, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 13 Comments

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marbles book coverTitle: Marbles – Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
Author: Ellen Forney
Published: 2012; Pages: 256
Genre: Memoir/Graphic
Rating: Devoured

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads

In Short: A young woman comes to terms with her Bipolar diagnosis and what it means to her as a creative artist.

Why I Read Marbles: Marbles was recommended to me during Nonfiction November. I can’t remember if it was already on my radar or not, but I’m glad that Farin and Leslie recommended it!

Thoughts in General: Ellen Forney learned in her twenties that she has Bipolar I mood disorder, and this diagnosis sent her into a tailspin. Should she try to manage her ups and downs herself? Could she get away with not taking medication? How could she find the right medications? And if she did take meds would her creativity—which was often at a high during her manic times—take a plunge? Is there a link between being an artist and being bipolar (or depressed)?

Throughout this graphic memoir, Ellen shares her experiences with the questions above—she shares the good moments, the bad moments, her fears, and her triumphs. Having gone through my own bouts of depression, I could relate to chunks of Marbles, though of course everyone’s situation is unique. I hate to say I loved watching Ellen’s journey as much of the journey entailed suffering, but Marbles has a brutal honesty that I so appreciated. I zipped through this one very quickly and appreciated Ellen’s candid insights.

I loved the artwork of Marbles. Some pages included one drawing, some several panels. Some illustrations were busy busy and some stark–all of this to help emphasize her ups and downs. I’ll let two totally unrelated pages give you a taste:

marbles graphic

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marbles graphic

click to enlarge

Bottom Line: Absolutely recommend! I do have to note that there is some nudity and sex in the beginning of the book but neither is a pervasive part of the story. Marbles is a great discussion and thought piece for anyone who has suffered or know someone who has suffered or would like to know more about mood disorders such as Bipolar I.

Have you read it?

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13 Responses to “Marbles by Ellen Forney”

    • I had a close friend in my youth who was diagnosed as Bipolar in her early twenties. She went through the struggle of whether to medicate or not and it ended up being a really tough thing for her and everyone close to her. This book really hit home! (and is insightful for those not familiar)

  1. I read this last year and it has really stuck with me. What I remember the most about it is the fact that her treatments and medications are terrifically expensive and her health insurance won’t cover the cost.

    • Yes–something I should have mentioned in this post (had there not been a tired little girl who didn’t want to go to bed while I was trying to type this post!). I’m glad that she included all of the information on the potential treatments and everything that goes into feeling whole–including therapists, prescriptions, and other alternative methods of healing. I did wonder how any of this might change with Obamacare, but goodness it’s expensive. It’s sad how little mental health is covered under insurance policies.

  2. I want to read this book. I have Bipolar 1 also so it will be interesting to see how someone else dealt with it.
    Also for the other commentators who wanted to know, I have medicaid and it pays for everything. Dunno about other insurance tho.