Cover Image: Parenthesis

Parenthesis

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Member Reviews

Demonstrates the power of comics to convey experiences that go beyond our words. Addressing her mother, the narrator struggles to piece together her memories of a four year battle with a brain tumor. Durand effectively uses black and white illustrations to bring readers into her experiences and emotions of the period. By playing with the layout and repeating visual motifs, we feel the impact of temporal confusion and how memories can change with more information. Highly recommended for readers age 13 and up and for any graphic medicine collection.
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I normally shy away from books with depressing topics, but this memoir has been receiving a lot of buzz so I wanted to give it a try. This memoir chronicles one women's confusion and declining mental state, trials and tribulations of various meds, diagnosis, treatments, and piecing her mind back together. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting! 

While this memoir is written and illustrated by Ms. Durand, there is a lot of narrative and perspective from her parents too, as they would chime in and correct her, or fill in the (often large) gaps she couldn't remember. These corrections and poignant, "oh." responses just further illustrated how difficult of a time she was having. 

This memoir also includes a lot of fascinating drawings Ms. Durand did while she was sick. These quick, stream of consciousness drawings helped her think and regain some concentration but also illustrated her frustrations and hopelessness at times. These visceral and haunting sketches are peppered throughout the memoir and always make you pause for a moment.  

My one critique, as it seems others have mentioned too, is the font. This cursive font is tight and small, and letters occasionally run into each other, making it hard to read at times. It got easier to read as time went on, but I can see this causing difficulty for others. I was really pulled into the narrative though and had to continue reading. 

Overall, highly recommended, we'll be purchasing this for the adult graphic novel collection of our library system. 4.5/5 stars
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This was an enjoyable graphic novel. The sketchy style was very real and made me feel closer to the author/artist. When she celebrated, I was right there next next to her. In this way, the story was very compelling and kept me interested. It was also a very quick read.

I fear that I wasn't able to get the true experience of this book, however, because the version I sent to my Kindle app had some weird formatting where the words were not actually in the artwork panels. They were instead separated and the words a bit jumbled up. This may have affected my reading experience, but the book itself is enjoyable.
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Absolutely beautiful and devastating. I loved this memoir and appreciate the author taking the time to write their story.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this review copy!  Due to tablet issues, this has taken me a while to get done---publishing date is tomorrow!  Sorry it took so long for me to get to this!
This is a really moving story of a Frenchwoman's struggles with a mysterious illness causing seizures and memory loss, that finally turns out to be a brain tumor, which is finally operated on, only to have the patient get worse rather than better, then finally begin a long, excruciatingly slow recovery period, marred by memory issues the whole way through.  I really liked the art that went along with the story, especially the drawings of herself the author included, which probably communicate more to us about how she felt during this time than words could explain.
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Parenthesis is a gripping graphic memoir of Durand's experience with epilepsy and her attempts to make sense of what happened to several years of her life. Durand includes conversations with her parents to help indicate how little she remembers of the years that she lived with epileptic seizures, a tumor, and subsequent medical treatments. Her inclusion of art she drew during those years helps convey a sense of her confusion and despair as she comes to terms with her medical diagnosis. 
The memoir's artwork and handwritten text give the reader a sense of proximity to Durand and make the memoir more personal and compelling. I was drawn into Durand's story and read the entire book in one sitting. I wish we knew more about her life afterward.
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Parenthesis--originally published in France in 2010--follows the author through her multi-year struggle with epilepsy. Just a few years past her teens, Judith starts experiencing mood swings, gaps in time, seizures, and loss of self that she cannot account for. After testing and time, it is discovered that a small inoperable tumor is pressing on her brain and causing epilepsy. This graphic memoir follows her disjointed and limited recollection of these years using conversations, storytelling, and startling drawings that illustrate how she saw herself. I think graphic memoir was the perfect medium for this, and Durand's unique illustration-style told this disconcerting story very well. My only complaint is that, as it has been 11 years since the original publication, I would have loved just a small update letting us know how Judith/Élodie is doing.
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An effective graphic memoir that tells the story of Durand's illness using her drawings and text. The drawings convey the terror and fear of unexplained memory loss (which happened over a significant period of time), seizures and general poor health. The pictures capture Durand herself as well as dialogue with family members and health professionals. An undoubtedly terrifying and confusing time is well documented through the author's text and drawings. In many ways, the drawings reflect the turmoil and emotion as much as the words do. This is an interesting memoir.
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A powerful, intimate look at the creator’s experience with illness and recovery and the effects of such on the lives of her friends and family.
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It took me a while to get into, but I ended up really enjoying this book. The black and white sketch illustrations really help support the text and reflect a hazy, upsetting time period in the author’s life. Very heartfelt!

<i>Thanks to NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>
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Parenthesis focuses on the character of Judith, based on the author's experience. The black-and-white drawings represent her journey as she struggles to piece together her memory and experience with epilepsy with the help of her friends and family. 

I would recommend this book to young adults and adults interested in learning more about how people live with epilepsy, who struggle with illness, or who might be struggling readers. There were two elements that I enjoyed. One was the repetition of images to represent when the epilepsy worsened again. The other element I enjoyed were the black and white doodles. They expressed the character's changing sense of self and provided spacing between the pages that had more text and images. One element that confused me was the beginning of the text. At first, I thought the character was experiencing young-onset dementia. However, if the reader sticks with the text, her condition begins to be explained in more detail and the reader learns about the condition as the character relearns and reviews her memories.
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This memoir will appeal to anyone with an interest in brain disorders, but it does have a limited scope. Much of the text is in a handwriting font, which while indicating that this is a memoir, makes it difficult to read. I would only recommend for older audiences and those that have an interest in seizures and other mystery brain disorders.
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The story was raw and honest. I really liked the drawings. I found the font choice to be hard to read and messy.
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I love graphic novel memoirs, they get the author's journey across to the reader in such a visceral and raw kind of way. Parenthesis is about the author's real struggle with a brain tumor. I couldn't put down my computer (digital ARC) and finished in just one sitting. The whole novel really made me feel almost like an intruder inside the author's head. The art style really lended itself well to the subject. The style shifts and gets darker and shows us, in illustration, how the missing parts of the author's memory might have felt. Overall, I loved this. I will be hand selling it for sure.
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This was a hard book to read. Literally. I had a hard time with the cursive font that was used for this book. It was also hard to read Onan emotional level. The illness she struggled with scares the pants off of me. It is one of my worst nightmares. Seeing how she persevered was inspiring.
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I really enjoyed this autobiographical account of a young woman learning to manage epilepsy. it was sensitively dealt with and addressed the potential issues raised by the condition and treatment. I am sure this would be a really encouragement to folks dealing with similar issues .

I enjoyed the art style of this graphic novel. It was simple but conveyed a lot of emotion in each frame. Well worth a read.
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(Set to publish on Jan 9, 2021)
Publication Date: February 9, 2021

My Thoughts:
I have seen it many times. Writing and drawing is a form of healing and grieving. This story is Èlodie Durand's own catharsis story of healing and grief and loss of herself. Through epileptic seizures brought on by an undiagnosed tumor, changes in personality, loss of freedom, memory, cognitive function, bodily function, vision and balance issues, Durand has loss years of her young life but with her drawings and lots of help from her family, she has come out on the other side. She is finally ready to share that she is still here. Still working on getting back what she has lost. Most importantly, she has declared herself not fully healed, but free just the same. 

For readers who for whatever reason are in the middle of the dark tunnel, unable to see the end light, this book is for you. I felt for her mother who really understands what sacrifice and parenting adults really means. Her bravery is just as large a part of this story as her daughter's illness. 

From the Publisher:
Judith is barely out of her teens when a tumor begins pressing on her brain, ushering in a new world of seizures, memory gaps, and loss of self. Suddenly, the sentence of her normal life has been interrupted by the opening of a parenthesis that may never close.

Based on the real experiences of cartoonist Élodie Durand, Parenthesis is a gripping testament of struggle, fragility, acceptance, and transformation which was deservedly awarded the Revelation Prize of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.
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Wow. Just wow. A gripping, raw, emotional, and intimate memoir. This translated GN tells Judith’s story through emotional images and personal writings, addressed to her mom, about the authors and her family’s personal journey through a brain tumor diagnosis, seizures, treatments and her path back to living. Very emotional and touching - you can see the pain and experience her journey through her drawings
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Recently I’ve discovered that graphic memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read. There’s something so raw about them that really speaks to me. In this story, Durand recounts her struggles with epilepsy and a brain tumor. Using a mix of dialogue with her mother, personal memories, and sometimes disturbing sketches, she explores how much she lost herself during treatment of her illness.

I enjoyed this book. The sketchy-style illustrations really add to the somberness of the story and help give a glimpse into what living in her position might have been like. I liked how the illustrations shifted in style with the tone of the story, often very dark and disjointed in the worst parts of her life. It really helps drive home how serious it was and how much the author truly lost herself in those horrific moments.

My critiques: the script used through most of the story is a bit hard to read. I assume it’s handwritten by the author, but my preference would be to use a typeface that looks like it’s handwritten. Maybe that would take away from the story though. I’m not sure. I also wish it concluded a little better. The ending feels very blunt to me.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. It’s a really good entry into the graphic memoir genre.
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Interesting plot line. Fantastic artwork.  I definitely would recommend this to my friends to read because of this combination.
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