Graphic Novel Review: It’s Lonely At The Center Of The Earth: An auto-bio-graphic-novel by Zoe Thorogood

It’s Lonely At The Center Of The Earth: An auto-bio-graphic-novel by Zoe Thorogood. Image, 2023. 9781534323865. Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature.

First I want to say this book is absolutely beautiful to look at. It moves between illustration styles in a way that feels totally organic, and Thorogood’s storytelling talents and the range of illustration styles she employs wowed me in the same way Mike Huddelston’s did when I read Decorum. I started a review copy of this book on my iPad and absolutely had to see what it looked like on paper so I rushed out and bought a copy, and I’m not sorry I did that at all. I’m going to loan this book out to a lot of folks I know but I’m keeping it for me.

But here’s the thing, this book isn’t for everyone, though I hope each of you picks it up. Thorogood starts it by letting us know she’s been considering stabbing herself in the neck with a knife. And wondering if the book she’s writing, the book we’re reading, is just a performance that she can’t stop. But she commits to recording six months of her life in an effort to try to make sense of herself (and her depression). It includes bits of her in the past, both as a weird kid being bullied and a young artist getting praise from comics pros and then a book deal. It does not turn into a romantic comedy even when it feels like it might. It’s painful and funnier than I can explain and super sad in lots of moments. Thorogood’s depiction of the No-Face-ish creature that is always behind her, which no one else can see, is particularly freaky.


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