Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green is the auto-biographic graphic novel about a girl with big issues who just wants to be happy. Katie deals with an eating disorder, anxiety and all the awkwardness of adolescence. At over 500 pages this is one huge graphic novel and it took the author almost five years to draw and write it. What made me want to read this book was that I had never heard of a biography in this format and I fell in love with the cover. When I saw the girl walking through the woods with a scribbled shadow behind her I had to find out more.
At the start you see an average girl with a perfect life. We also see her deal with problems in school, learning about her sexuality and the pressure that all kids go through to be accepted. Katie’s story is easy to relate to as you see her go through the awkward teenage years. She thinks that she will never find a boyfriend and worries about getting good grades. Katie wants to fit in but at the same time she wants to be happy. She struggles to accept her changing body and you see her deal with her feelings of being different from everyone else. Being a kid is hard and it seems to be even harder for Katie.
As the story goes on it gets more into Katie’s eating disorders and how it affects her life. It also gets into what causes her to begin her journey, starting with how other kids look at their bodies. Food becomes an obsession, not just eating it but how much weight she will gain if she does. She worries constantly about how food will affect her and her as her life goes into a downward spiral. I liked the attention to detail on her eating disorder but I felt that this part of the book was a little too long. I understood the point that was being made and less time could have been spent on it. At times the book felt like a long therapy session but I was rooting for Katie to find what she was looking for in life.
When one problem gets solved, other problems present themselves and you start to wonder if Katie will ever find happiness. Lighter Than My Shadow is one woman’s journey from a good childhood to being a troubled teenager to finally finding piece of mind. This book was obviously a labor of love and readers will be able to see some of their selves in Katie. She is looking for the same thing that everyone looks for which is happiness.