GRAPHIC NOVELS

Dancing After TEN

Fantagraphics. Jun. 2020. 128p. ISBN 9781683963165. Rated: Teen+. Tr. MEMOIR
COPY ISBN
Chong was literally scarred for life by a rare reaction to a common medication. Her story is so horrifying that it would be easy to gawk and move on quickly. Instead, in this memoir, Chong’s confident voice draws out the complicated reality of a debilitating medical condition with precision and purpose. The titular TEN is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a skin condition that causes burns and scar tissue all over the body, and in Chong’s case, an induced coma followed by blindness and a brush with hearing loss. Chong covers her treatment clearly, but her quest to make meaning from the mess takes center stage. Her mother lives on the other side of the world, her hired aide is unkind, her friends and former flames are unreliable, and so she seeks to make her life her own again—by learning to cook, swim, and train a guide dog, but also by creating art from her suffering. Chong’s narrative conviction and artistic direction blended with Webber’s wiry illustrations are all-enveloping, communicating her huge challenge without pathos.
VERDICT A prime example of the graphic medicine genre, which illustrates medical conditions, often through lived experience, this work is engaging and informative but never feels teachy or preachy. [See Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 4/20.]

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month