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It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth: This Book Is for Someone, Somewhere.

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Work like this is valuable, it’s important, it’s absolutely essential… it’s an undeniable acknowledgement that discussions around mental health need to be far more prevalent, far more transparent, and far more accepted. So characters' faces will be replaced with blank masks when they emotionally shut down, or at other times they might become animals, Maus-style (and turns out it's really disconcerting to see this happen with someone you actually know). but well if i get to the personal stuff- i don't think there was ever a right time for me to read this book. A miserable autobiographical indie comic where one of the things the creator is disgusted with about herself is being the sort of person who makes miserable autobiographical indie comics, "Perpetuating our own bullshit, and validating our audience's bullshit at the same time. The Covid pandemic figures into the story as well, derailing her success after her first book by canceling her book tour and plunging her into solitude.

Centre of the Earth is an important work as a discussion of trauma, depression, and the hope that can keep one moving forward. Occasionally there will be an interesting part, like where she is terrified of tabling at a convention and then gets more comfortable with it, and she can draw really well, she just doesn’t do it often. The people that will really love this comic are the ones that will relate to the messiness of mental illness and this comic does nothing to encourage seeking help - instead it seems to share the message that it's okay to wallow and stay blinded by your own misery. I was recently lying near death in the ICU and I was extremely comforted by how I have spent my time and the work I leave behind. Thorogood uses different drawing styles and colors in an imaginative way that makes it easier to understand which mental perspective is being focused on.I want to say that It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood is a bit quirky and unorthodox but it's just fascinating.

A robot devoid of any emotion who understands everything that happens around you, yet you don't care about any of it. Thorogood’s It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth is a complex, layered and often difficult to easily define graphic memoir that spirals out from a deceptively simple premise.

It's that back and forth, the expertise in modulating the tone, which combine with the self-awareness and the irritation at the audience to make me want to give Thorogood the almost certainly unhelpful label of 'the Stewart Lee of miserable autobiographical indie comics'. It's an excellent visual representation of depression and self-pity because there's no logic to it and it's incredibly self-absorbed.

It felt like looking into a mirror with each page I read and I got really caught up (so much so that I burned my dinner) and honestly I didn't expect to be so influenced by Zoe's story.I won’t say this book is “relatable” because everyone’s mental health journey feels incredibly personal and unique to them; though, as someone who went through an especially hard mental health year last year (and felt like my journey was the centre of the earth), I commend the author for the momentum it must have taken to create this autobiographical work and beautiful art while struggling. Because it is self-conscious about that too, with Thorogood following up bold statements like ‘ Reading a book, hearing a song, observing a painting—that’s connection. IT'S LONELY AT THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH is an intimate and metanarrative look into the life of a selfish artist who must create for her own survival. So she decides to create animal-selves and other characters that she engages with, dialogues with, argues with.

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