Book Review: Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

Title: Lighter Than My Shadow

Author: Katie Green

Number of Pages: 516

Genre: Graphic Novel

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

Anorexia Nervosa is an illness I know very little about, a friend of mine from grade school got it when she was very young but I didn’t know her when she had it. I know about as much about the condition as the average joe shmoe, and although Katie Green’s remarkably candid graphic memoir Lighter Than My Shadow didn’t teach me much I didn’t know about Anorexia it did take me on a harrowing and emotionally rewarding journey.


    Lighter Than My Shadow is a very visual experience, containing a minimum of words on each page and being unusually illustration-heavy, even for a graphic novel. it tells the story of Green’s experience of growing up anorexic and bulimic, and how her intense pursuit of perfectionism manifests itself in painful and disturbing ways. As a young woman, Katie’s parents send her to a new age therapist who takes sexual advantage of her, and she has to deal with the trauma of that along with everything else she’s dealing with. Green isn’t afraid to put her flaws on naked display, presenting herself at times as unlikable while remaining incredibly easy to empathize with.


I’ve read very few graphic novels, so this is largely a new genre for me. I read Blankets by Craig Thompson a couple of years ago and liked it but while I certainly acknowledge the artistic value of the graphic novel, I generally prefer reading novels. Actually, I think it’s less a matter of me really preferring them and more a matter of them being what I’m used to. While the illustrations in Lighter Than My Shadow were engaging and the characters were strangely adorable, I had a problem with many of them looking very similar and being difficult to tell apart. The only way I could pick Katie out from a group of her peers in an illustration was the fact that she always looked shy and was never smiling. The characters faces blended in way too much, otherwise I really liked Green’s art work but that was difficult for me.


  Lighter Than My Shadow might look daunting at over 500 pages, but it’s actually a really quick read, I finished it in two sittings but I could have finished it in one if I really wanted to. I thought the author was incredibly brave, she had a kind of frankness that was painful at times, but I really admired her honesty and her willingness to open up about some very difficult things that happened in her life.


I’m looking forward to seeing more from Katie Green in the future, and this book has inspired me to start picking up graphic novels more often and try to get myself better acquainted with a genre I don’t have a whole lot of familiarity with. Memoirs are some of my favorite kinds of books, and I like reading about different mental health issues, so it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that I liked this book. It should come as no surprise that Lighter Than My Shadow could be triggering for some readers, but it also could possibly provide comfort to people who have dealt with similar issues, it is dark but ultimately ends on a hopeful note.




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