Author: Iasmin Omar Ata
Publisher: Gallery 13
Publication Date: 3. October 2017
Rating: 4./5. Stars
Diversity: PoC (Muslim MC), epilepsy
TW: self harm, sucidal ideation, gore
Summary: Isaac wants nothing more than to be a functional college student—but managing his epilepsy is an exhausting battle to survive. He attempts to maintain a balancing act between his seizure triggers and his day-to-day schedule, but he finds that nothing—not even his medication—seems to work. The doctors won’t listen, the schoolwork keeps piling up, his family is in denial about his condition, and his social life falls apart as he feels more and more isolated by his illness. Even with an unexpected new friend by his side, so much is up against him that Isaac is starting to think his epilepsy might be unbeatable.
Based on the author’s own experiences as an epileptic, Mis(h)adra is a boldly visual depiction of the daily struggles of living with a misunderstood condition in today’s hectic and uninformed world.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This beautifully done graphic novel depicts the struggle of Isaac, a student who lives with epilepsy. Besides the stress of epileptic attacks, which are preceded by an aura, represented by knifes ready to strike, he has to deal with his classmates’, family’s and doctors’ ableism. He finally made his first friend in a long time, who tells him that it will get better, but Isaac is slowly losing hope.
This is a heartfelt and absolutely stunning graphic novel. The art is amazing and truly beautiful. I especially liked the jarring change from softer colors to black/red during seizures, because it emphasized their suddenness.
And while I think the story does a very good job of portraying how Isaac’s epilepsy takes over his life, shortening the time he can spend with other people and sometimes feeling like they take ages, shown in page after page, I would have liked some more plot and knowledge about Isaac’s relationships with other people.
There is also a lot of internal monologuing going on in this book and barely any dialogue, which I found a bit weird at first, but it actually shows how isolated Isaac has become quite well and I grew to enjoy it a lot.
The end is not very satisfying as it happens pretty quickly and wraps up too fast for my taste, but I adored the rest of the comic quite a lot.
This story also deals with depression as result of chronic illness and also with the darker things in life, so please be warned for suicidal ideation and mentions of self-harm in this book. Some of the drawings are pretty gore-y and bloody too.