How I Made it to Eighteen starts out with this note from Tracy:
“This books is only mostly true because I’ve skipped over things, moved events around, embellished, and occasionally just plain made things up. Also I wanted to respect the privacy of people and places so names and recognizable details have been changed. The technical term for this is dramatic license. I used it. The 100% true big picture facts: I did a lot of drugs. I had body image issues. I had a nervous breakdown. I checked myself into a mental hospital. I stayed longer than I’d originally intended. I got better. Eventually."
That really sets the tone for the rest of the book. It starts after she’s been in the mental hospital for forty-nine hours. She details her own struggles with depression, body image, and her mother. One of the things that I like about this book is that the main character still hides things from us. That’s something I think I assumed about graphic novels – that everything would be laid out for me and I wouldn’t have to critically think about what I was reading, but in How I Made it to Eighteen there is information that Tracy reveals near the end of the book that changes how I think about earlier parts.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini