Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness

Pantheon. (Pantheon Graphic Library). Jul. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781524748067. $30. GRAPHIC NOVELS
“When I started writing this book in 2016,” writes Radtke (Imagine Wanting Only This) at the beginning of this timely volume, “rates of loneliness had already been increasing exponentially for decades, yet it wasn’t a subject I heard people talk about very often, at least not in relation to themselves.” In often poetic prose accompanied by stunning illustration, Radtke weaves together personal anecdotes and examples drawn from physical and mental health studies to create a meditation on the causes and cost of isolation. A brief history of the television sitcom laugh track segues into a reflection on the comedies Radtke watched as a child and how they shaped her understanding of love and friendship, which leads to a discussion of the health issues associated with prolonged loneliness and then an explanation of how American media glorifies loners such as Mad Men’s Don Draper. Later, an examination of social rejection as a source of aggression and irrationality prefaces revelations about Radtke’s personal relationships, an analysis of the popularity of artist Yayoi Kusama, and thoughts on social media and parenthood.
VERDICT An insightful and compassionate investigation of loneliness, which Radke convincingly calls “one of the most universal things any person can feel.”
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