I really loved this examination of emotionally coping with a friend's mental illness when you can't do anything to help. It was compassionate and kind to the friend and handled the very sensitive subject matter well.
In this book, Emilia Mckenzie explores the profound significance of friendships and the solace they can provide during difficult times. Through vivid imagery and evocative language, she delves into the depths of human connection and emphasizes the importance of having a support system.
This was a very painful but beautiful graphic novel to read about two friends, and ones struggle with mental health.
I found it to be very realistic and heart-bearing about how complex your relationship can be with bad mental health, and the effects it has on your friendships and relationships but it does come out hopeful about memoralising lost ones and bringing about recognition on these subjects.
Emilia met her best friend C in 1999. They were still friends in 2018 when C died by suicide after an extended battle with borderline personality disorder. The author and illustrator Emilia takes us through the story of their friendship as well as what is left after one of them is no longer present.
In 2009, I met a friend who was undeniably one of my 'people.' We were still friends in 2015 when she died by suicide, though it was myself who had had brushes with suicide in the past, not her.
Needless to say, this graphic memoir hit close to home. It said all the things I wanted to say to everyone around me during the summer after my friend's death. But you just don't answer 'my friend killed herself' to a casual 'how are you?'
Emilia's illustrations are simple and colorless but they aren't the driving focus of this story. You don't need them because instead you're seeing that special friend in your life, if you have one. The story that progresses is so specific to Emilia, and yet so achingly universal to those of us who have lost one of our people, to those of us who have struggled with our mental health, to those of us who have felt inadequate while trying to help a friend.
I feel so honored to have the opportunity to read this book. It is an opportunity for healing that I didn't know I needed. It is a breath of fresh air in a world where we still fear to put words to these experiences. Graphic memoir is such a special genre and But You Have Friends is an outstanding addition to it.
Thank you to IDW Publishing, Top Shelf Productions, and Net Galley for the ARC.
After Emilia's McKenzie's best friend, Charlotte, committed suicide, she poured her feelings into this emotionally charged graphic novel about friendship, regrets, and how those left behind carry on after their lives are irrevocably changed.
McKenzie shares details of their friendship, how they met, the lives they shared and their love for each other, giving the reader a real feel for their relationship and what an amazing person Charlotte was. Her subsequent descent into depression and ultimate diagnosis with BPD are subsequently even more hard hitting, as you know the before to compare with the after. The brutal nature of her ultimate suicide is truly shocking, even though you know it's coming.
A cathartic outpouring follows, as McKenzie wrestles with her grief, regrets and guilty "what ifs", common feelings for anyone who has lost a loved one in this way - if you've experienced a similar loss, you'll find comfort in the resonance of the shared emotions. A challenging but beautifully crafted read.
A tender yet heart-wrenching graphic novel about the loss of a friend. Mckenzie takes us through her and Charolette's childhood friendship all the way into their adult lives. The graphic novel touches on topics of mental health, medication abuse, and suicide. I advise practicing self-care when and after reading.
The art style is simplistic and set in a grayscale. I wonder if Mckenzie chose to do this for ease or for adding to the overall theme; either way it's did it's job.
While this was a hard read, it was a good one.
This graphic novel was heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time. In it we follow Emilia and Charlotte as they become friends and go through life together. They bond over their mutual love of the color purple and indie music. As life goes on they get busy and see each other less and less but still call and keep up. Emilia's world is turned upside down when she learns that Charlotte has committed suicide. This book is about their friendship as well as Emilia and their other friend's grief as they deal with losing Charlotte.
I thought that this was a fantastically well done graphic novel. The way that the author talked about Charlotte and their friendship was so refreshing - she talked about the good and the bad. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, which I feel like is a little bit weird to say considering it deals with suicide. But the friendship between the two women was really nice to see on the page. Overall, this is a great graphic novel that I think deals with grief in a very real way.
This graphic novel memoir tells Emilia's side of events in the years leading up to and after her friends suicide. Reading the blurb of this story I assumed she would write about her experience, how to made her feel, and how she coped with everything happening. This novel was a short 120 pages and a very quick read. The digital copy I received unfortunately cut off the bottom 1/4 of every single page, so there was a little bit of text I missed, but I mostly got the full story, and I guess I just don't understand the point of writing this? I understand the point of getting her thoughts and feelings out on paper and sharing her experience that way- but I don't see why this experience needed to be shared with the rest of the world? Nothing profound happened. It's not like Emilia stopped Charlotte or got her the help she needed, Emilia was barely even around during these though times. Sure Charlotte was her best friend, but they weren't close, Emilia essentially had no idea what was going on with Charlotte. Not to mention, who even are Emilia and Charlotte? I feel if either of them were known to any degree, sharing the story would make sense then too. But they aren't. And the necessity behind sharing this story is just nonexistent? I also hated the ending of literally writing "I'm just going to end our story here because I really don't have anything else to add"???? are you kidding me? That should've been your first clue this story needed some work before sharing with the world. This was overall just a very disappointing read.
But you have friends made me want to have a Charlotte in my life.
tw: grief and suicide.
This book, as Emilia says, is about friendship and the loss of it. We will not explore the reason for Charlotte's decisions, but rather it will be a perspective of Emilia, where she will capture everything that her friend meant to her.
It is a graphic novel that young people aged 16+ could read, however, I feel that it will be adults who will identify a little more with its content.
In general, I liked the story. Although the design is simple, it manages to convey emotions well. What I would have liked is that it had more pages, sometimes I feel that we ran a little in the story and that I needed more background about the author and her friend.
My rating follows the CAWPILE system.
Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own👀
As soon as I begin to read But You Have Friends by Emilia Mckenzie, I was immediately drawn into a heartfelt graphic memoir that beautifully celebrates the power of friendship. Emilia and Charlotte's bond began in Grade 9, a connection built on shared passions, creative pursuits, and an unbreakable camaraderie. Through the ups and downs of life, they stood by each other's side, until tragedy struck in 2018 when Charlotte lost her battle with depression.
Emilia's tribute to her beloved friend is an intimate and touching portrayal of their special friendship. The graphic memoir weaves together short episodes that allow us to witness the magic of their camaraderie as they navigated through life together. Themes of mental health and suicide are delicately explored, but above all, this book is a celebration of the irreplaceable bond between two souls who found solace and joy in each other's company.
As I turned each page, I couldn't help but feel a personal connection with Emilia and Charlotte. Our shared love for indie music and feminist literature made their story even more relatable. Emilia's candid and humorous storytelling drew me in, making me feel like I was part of their journey, privy to the cherished moments that shaped their friendship. But You Have Friends is a poignant reminder of the power of friendship and the profound impact one person can have on another's life. Emilia's tribute is a true testament to the beauty of friendship, and I feel privileged to have been allowed into this special world she created.
This was a thoughtful and touching graphic novel about a friend who committed suicide. As someone who had also lost a friend that way, I really appreciated this.
this was a tough one to review. though I had some concerns about the pacing and art, that still didn't overcome what a tragic story this is, yet beautiful in some parts and trying to find the silver linings throughout grief. it just reminds me not to take the people around me for granted..I really hope Emilia is doing okay, however and is allowing herself to grieve, as well as Charlotte's friends/family. I also thought the pages being colored in muted purples was very sweet. I didn't know Charlotte as well as the author, but I think she would have loved this book. :)
This is not by any stretch the first memoir about sexual assault and the aftermath, but where this really stands out is in its acknowledgment and admonishing of rape culture, entitlement, dubious consent, and the gray area that so many men shamelessly occupy. Yes, there is a clear and evil man who commits an obvious atrocity, but there are so many more who simply take advantage of Nat’s innocence, naivete, youth, zeal, and insecurity, and it’s painful to recognize young, reckless versions of ourselves and our friends in these “nice” men. So it’s important. For men to read this.
Imagine my ecstatic surprise when I realized this was a graphic novel! I totally skipped that in the description. Not only are graphic novels quicker, but they’re also just really creative/artistic. So I was very excited about this.
The beginning part of this book kinda felt like when someone’s showing you all the photos in their phone gallery and explaining them all. Sweet at first but eventually gets a bit repetitive. I guess what I mean is that, despite it providing context on how they met, much of the beginning of this book lacked detail that moved the story forward. And the writing itself didn’t make up for the lack of detail.
Part of what makes memoirs, especially surrounding memory and childhood, is the reflections we make that we would’ve never made back then. Our adult selves can find slivers of beauty and reflection that our childhood selves were not sophisticated or sentimental enough to. The book eventually certainly got there. And when it did, it was extremely heartfelt, relatable, tender, and even tense at times. The speaker/author was incredibly honest and spoke on things so many face alone out of shame. And that's very admirable. The first about half of the book though had moments that could’ve been expanded to point out some progression, reflection, or lesson. The trip they took together, for example, felt as if it was building to something only for us to move on very quickly. I just think the story of their friendship GROWING is just as important as how they lost each other.
While the illustration does portray the awkwardness of adolescence, there are maybe about three facial expressions: neutral, anger, worry. It just feels stiff and almost wholly reliant on the subtitles/text. I definitely think this art style could appeal to many! It's just not my favorite.
All of this to say though, this is really sweet and heartbreaking. It's an important story to tell. So many people go through these things and struggle is nothing to be ashamed of. And I think it's really important to preface that criticism to storytelling is not criticism of the story itself. This was a very beautiful exploration of someone's life and how the loss affected those who loved them. It needed to be written and I applaud the author for writing it. I wish I could give them the biggest hug.
This was an honest look at the powers and limits of friendship. I appreciated the author’s candor and her willingness to give us a glimpse of her relationship with her friend.
Very touching and tender tribute to the author's friend and friendship at large. I really enjoyed this read and the simplistic art style helped translate the story well.
I loved he main concept of the story considering that I had the same problem with finding friends then one I found that one friend I never wanted her to disappear ever. I loved the drawing style it give me adult animation vibes.
This book is something close to writer and she put her feelings on the paper for world to read and understand her friendship and made a point to bring mental health in the light .
The synopsis was promising and I wanted to read about friendship,care and love.
But unfortunately this book missed the mark abd couldn't leave lasting impression. It was almost a dnf but I pushed myself to finish it.
The topic is very important probably the art style was a minus.
Content warning- this book contains discussions of suicide ideation, suicide attempts, self-harm, and mental illness.
This book perfectly describes the ways in which we see only the outside perspective of a person struggling with mental illness and just how incorrect those views can be. Seeing the friendship and story develop between two childhood friends, one of whom struggles immensely with depression and suicide ideation, the other, struggling to understand how her friend could struggle so immensely when she has friends, popularity, and good looks. This book will challenge readers to check-in on their "tough" friends, their friends who appear to have it all. It will support the grief that comes along with not being able to save a friend from themself.
Marking this as DNF, as the illustration and narrating style is not for me. The synopsis sounded good, but meh, not worth it.