Swallow Me Whole is a graphic novel coming to us from Nate Powell prolific writer and artist, and illustrator of March. It deals with adolescence and it’s oft-times confusing and over-whelming emotional and psychological changes and challenges.
The book features Ruth and Perry, step-siblings who try to relate to the world, while skirting the tumultuous consequences of mental disorders, death, love and family problems. Their parents struggle to help or relate to the duo, and school teachers and counselors cannot grasp the world that encompasses the two siblings.
I cannot pretend to offer a highly intelligent review of this novel because I believe that I perhaps did not grasp the full emotion or dialog of much of the book as it relates to any of these issues. However, the novel is very well written, and the illustrations are fantastic.
Powell won the 2009 Ignatz Awards for Outstanding Debut and Outstanding Artist, and the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Original Graphic Novel for this novel; and it certainly sets the scene for a discussion about teen exposure to and experience of mental illness.
I’ll look forward to seeing Powell at the ALA Conference this year in Chicago.