Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A story about Mindy, a woman living with an eating disorder who has to learn how to love herself again.
In pursuit of the perfect body, Mindy buys the low-fat diet products and the glossy magazines which promise the secret to losing weight. One night, while perusing the aisles of the neighborhood convenience store for a midnight snack, she finds a new product. A chocolate bar called “Eat and Love Yourself”. On a whim, Mindy buys the curious candy, not knowing that with every piece of chocolate she eats, she will be brought back to a specific moment of her past — helping her to look at herself honestly, learn to love her body the way it is, and accepting love. Perhaps, she will even realize that her long lost high school best friend, Elliot, was more than just a friend…
Warnings: eating disorder depicted – bingeing and purging, depression, fat-shaming and fatmisic comments, body dysmorphia
Eat, and Love Yourself has a 27-year old woman with an eating disorder who has been in an endless cycle of hating her body, and trying to fill the hole inside herself. Mindy has trouble with seeing her self-worth, even when others point it out to her, and her dissatisfaction with her body is affected both by her dysmorphia as well as the ‘well-meaning’ comments of the people around her. When she buys a new chocolate brand, she starts having these vivid visions of significant moments in her past that point to where her self-hate started – her parents’ and relatives’ comments on her body, the schoolgirls who made snide remarks, and other such events in her life. As she goes through her current life, and is remembering those moments, she starts noticing the obvious remarks and comments that have continued the attack on her self-worth, and has a better understanding of where it all started.
The artwork is vibrant and aesthetically pleasing, like most of Boom Box works, and with a clean lineart with a solid coloring style. The depiction of her dream states, as well as the storyboarding describing her eating disorder, and emotions therewith are done wonderfully. I only had an issue with the ending of the book – since this seems like a standalone, the ending feels abrupt. She has an understanding of what has lead her to this point, and makes a promise to be better to herself, but that is it. It doesn’t even show the ‘after’, like, you know, at least even the attempts for ‘love yourself’ part. Just, even a few panels of her stopping the urge to weigh herself before eating, or her having a better relationship with food, would feel like it left it on a positive note, rather than the incomplete feel of the ending.
On the whole, it is a well-rendered graphic novel about the things we hurt ourselves with, as well as how the people around us can feed into that, despite their self-professed ‘well-meaning’ comments.
Is it diverse? fat protagonist
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from BOOM! Box, via Netgalley.
Released on April 21, 2020