In this graphic memoir, Awada, a “young Muslim woman who lives in America’s heartland,” shares her struggle with body dysmorphic disorder.,
Awada was raised in a Middle Eastern culture in which “there is never a shortage of food nourishment, and love”—in fact, “feeding your children is love.” But when Awada was 6, her aunt called her “too big,” and “that was the day…they flipped a switch that could never be turned off.” As she ages, she finds a “new family [in] food,” which becomes her best friend in a world where she wants to be perfect, just like her meticulous mom. In high school, Awada turns to dieting, then starving herself, and then purging. Although she feels “such euphoria” after purging, Awada only grows weaker. The author admits that she could have died, “but, by the grace of Allah (God), I am here… / …alive to tell my story.” Illustrations capture her fragile body and growing weakness. Meanwhile, her family struggles to pay for her treatment. With help, she starts to heal and realizes that “imperfection is beautiful.” Heartfelt narration works with Firmansyah’s art and Kamaputra’s bold colors to depict Awada’s changes—weight gain and finding comfort in food to weight loss, all while struggling to be perfect. A closing note from a professional provides tips for identifying and avoiding eating disorders.
A sensitive, firsthand treatment of the topic made all the richer by its inclusion of the author’s religion and culture. (Graphic memoir. 11-15)