Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me : A Graphic Memoir

Forney, Ellen

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion. Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the "crazy artist," Ellen found inspiration from the lives and work of other artist and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath.

Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, c2012
ISBN: 9781592407323
Branch Call Number: GRAPHIC B Forney F
Characteristics: 248 p. : chiefly ill. ; 23 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Misfit Memoirs by: nypl_kingsbridge Aug 15, 2014

​In this graphic novel memoir, Ellen Forney describes her battle with Bipolar Disorder and her struggle to retain her creativity while being subjected to various courses of medications and therapy. She manages to tackle this serious topic with self-deprecating humor and illustrations that give us... Read More »

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Oct 01, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Ellen thinks she's just full of creative energy - then she's told that she's experiencing a manic period of bipolar disorder. When medication is tabled she refuses because of her fear that it will interfere with her creative mind. So begins a graphic novel detailing an artist learning about herself through this new lens and learning to manage, and live, with both parts of her disease. The artwork is absolutely perfect to go with this story. The manic periods are bursting with energy despite being in black and white and the depressive episodes appear stark and lonely as Ellen finally agrees to some medication and her journey of finding a balance of that also begins.

It's informative as it is relatable and heartbreaking but it is also hopeful as you see a woman who feared the repercussions of her mental illness discover that there is a way to live with it. The only reason I give this three stars is because sometimes I found the art a little overwhelming and scattered but, then again, that makes sense considering the subject matter.

May 18, 2014
  • bibliophile78 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a funny and profound glimpse into bipolar disorders and the intense pharmaceutical road to "balance". Highly recommend to those with this condition or those who love someone with this condition.

May 12, 2014
  • dndadventure rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I'm a fellow consumer, and thinking it dangerous to go alone, I took Marbles along to my first day at a new job. Forney shares the (often hilarious) details of her type one bipolar disorder in the manner of someone telling an inside joke: her initiation into Club Van Gogh, that time she tried to seduce a wall, even her mom's "I Love NPR" t-shirt. Being invited along for an inside joke makes you feel like you're talking to a friend, and sometimes, having a friend along saves the day (my first day at work still sucked, but at least it sucked in a way I could tell as a funny story instead of something only my shrink knows about).

I <3 this book.

Apr 09, 2014
  • Jasta rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

So poignant! I couldn't put it down til I was done.

Dec 05, 2013

Loved it! I totally appreciate Forney's honesty. Really cool book.

Jul 22, 2013
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"I hadn't ever wanted to be healthy and balanced.

I'd always been drawn to the "tortured artist" ideal: passionate and driven, sacrificing sleep, health, blood, sweat, tears. . . .

Is bipolar disorder a curse, a source of misery and pain? A dangerous, often life-threatening disease?

Or an inextricable, even essential part of many creative personalities? A source of inspiration and profound artistic work?"
Ellen Forney bravely tells the story of her personal struggles with these questions after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a passionate, 29-year-old artist. It was a struggle that lasted years, and she shares many intimate stories that illustrate the symptoms of her disorder as they played out in her life, admits to the many ways she resisted the treatments her doctor recommended, and relates her explorations into the connections between artistic genius and mental instability as she tried to come to terms with who she would become as a potentially balanced, stable, medicated person. It's a powerful journey because of her willingness to make herself so exposed and vulnerable to us.

Jun 26, 2013
  • Bjreader rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

fun and informative graphic novel on cartoonist Ellen Forney's struggle with Bipolar Disorder.

Jun 08, 2013
  • leensbo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

For anyone with a mood disorder this is an incredibly validating read. Forney is straightforward, honest and very candid about her experiences, which likely mirror many others in many ways.

Apr 21, 2013

"An artist describes her bipolar disorder diagnosis and her struggles with mental stability while discussing other creative people throughout history who were also labelled as "crazy," including van Gogh, O'Keeffe, and Plath." April 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter

Apr 11, 2013
  • Kebabette rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

So very good - compelling, interesting, and funny as all heck.

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Feb 04, 2015

JessicaReadsBooks thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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May 18, 2014
  • bibliophile78 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"The CRAZY ARTIST is a scientifically based phenomenon"


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