by Tillie Walden
Spinning is a graphic novel memoir about the author, Tillie. She says her book is about ice skating, but it is really about her youth while ice skating. Tillie struggled with coming out as gay to her conservative family and friends in Austin, Texas. She also struggled with a mother who seemed less than supportive and her absent family. Tillie needed a place to fit, but didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere. Although she was a successful ice skater, she didn’t enjoy it, and ended up quitting once she started to take control of her life.
What I liked about this book was the emotion Tillie put into her memoir so the reader feels her struggles. I am not gay, I have never been sexually assaulted, and I have never been pressured in a competitive sport, but the author writes so we can have compassion for Tillie’s experiences. That is the one thing that people wrote when reviewing this graphic novel- we feel Tillie’s heartbreak, depression, frustration, embarrassment, etc. as we read her words. Although it is kind of an aside, I also enjoyed learning more about competitive figure skating.
What I didn’t like about this book was the way people were so unaccepting of Tillie when they weren’t in a place to have a say in her life. I hate when people are bullied and the bullies aren’t punished, or the protagonist isn’t avenged. However, that’s life. My bullies are probably still bullying, or basically being awful people to others. I wanted to see her mother redeem herself or her girlfriend get back into contact with her, or the man who assaulted her- he needed to be caught and punished! Those things never happened (in the book).
Book 3 of 2019