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And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir

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Using old diary entries, hospital records, home videos, and other archives, Margaret pieces together a narrative map of her childhood—her mother’s bipolar disorder, her grandmother’s institutionalization, and her brother’s increasing struggles—in an attempt to understand what no one likes to talk about: the fractures in her family.


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Using old diary entries, hospital records, home videos, and other archives, Margaret pieces together a narrative map of her childhood—her mother’s bipolar disorder, her grandmother’s institutionalization, and her brother’s increasing struggles—in an attempt to understand what no one likes to talk about: the fractures in her family.

30 review for And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    The book opens with a suicide attempt by the author's mother in the 1980s then ranges back and forth through the decades exploring the history of mental illness and divorce in her family tree. While I felt sort of bad for everyone involved, I didn't really connect with the material due to the format and the author's failure to really land a reason for sharing all these family secrets. First, I really don't get the point of an illustrated memoir where the pictures and the text only intersect tange The book opens with a suicide attempt by the author's mother in the 1980s then ranges back and forth through the decades exploring the history of mental illness and divorce in her family tree. While I felt sort of bad for everyone involved, I didn't really connect with the material due to the format and the author's failure to really land a reason for sharing all these family secrets. First, I really don't get the point of an illustrated memoir where the pictures and the text only intersect tangentially. Set up sort of like a scrapbook or a Richard Scarry picture book, the pages were filled with street maps, cross-sections, room layouts, diary pages and legal documents, broken up with a very infrequent recreation of a family snapshot or frame from a home movie. The number of still life studies of furniture and fixtures was positively numbing. Over these obviously photo-referenced drawings were strings of captions and giant boxes of text that could have been basically lifted out and printed as a straight prose memoir with very little editing to mark the absence of the images. There are little margin notes explaining some of the images, but most of those are pretty useless and easily discarded. For example: "Cedarcrest Regional Hospital in Newington, Connecticut, was originally built for tuberculosis patients in 1910 and in 1976 became part of the Department of Mental Health. Nine years after my mom's admission, the hospital closed." To which I can only say, "Oh, so?" In the river of text, the author is almost as removed as her illustrations, acting like the director of a documentary, touching on her own trauma and grief but keeping the focus on the family events. In the midst of all the microscopic details about her mother, father, stepmother and brother, she almost fails to mention that at some point she got married to some guy and struggled with alcohol abuse. And she raises but doesn't really settle the questions regarding telling the stories of other people in her family when their agreement and maybe even ability to enter into an agreement about the matter is dubious (and even involves some dishonesty on her part). She got her book deal and spills the family secrets as the title promises, but I felt so detached from her and her family by the end that I'm not sure I see the value in doing so.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    [I receive a newsletter from HarperOne from which I can select books I would like to read that they then mail to me at no cost. I am not otherwise paid. I have no obligation to post or leave a review.] ... This book is spectacular. I have been on GoodReads for years now and really think this memoir will be a top contender for best memoir of 2021. I didn't realize it was a graphic novel until I received it in the mail. The images add so much detail and set the mood of the story in a subtle, but pow [I receive a newsletter from HarperOne from which I can select books I would like to read that they then mail to me at no cost. I am not otherwise paid. I have no obligation to post or leave a review.] ... This book is spectacular. I have been on GoodReads for years now and really think this memoir will be a top contender for best memoir of 2021. I didn't realize it was a graphic novel until I received it in the mail. The images add so much detail and set the mood of the story in a subtle, but powerful way. I couldn't put the book down, reading it over the course of 24 hours. I was drawn in not only by the author's honesty but also the fairness with which she tells the complicated history of her family. As a psychologist, I can tell Kimball has done a lot of work to recover from her difficult childhood so that she can see the humanity in each of her family members. She honors their strengths while also naming the ways they hurt and were hurt by each other. She speaks about serious mental illness with a compassionate voice. Some books are meant to be championed. This is one of them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Keen

    3.5 Stars! “My mom was thirty-one when she decided to take her own life. It was Mother’s Day, 1988.” So go the opening lines of this graphic memoir. Kimball uses an interesting technique that I’ve rarely if ever come across before, she draws scenes about people but without people in them and what this does is add a ghostly, dislocated feel to the narrative, which I found very clever and effective. It takes until page 18 before we see a person. This soon turns into an almost forensic examination of 3.5 Stars! “My mom was thirty-one when she decided to take her own life. It was Mother’s Day, 1988.” So go the opening lines of this graphic memoir. Kimball uses an interesting technique that I’ve rarely if ever come across before, she draws scenes about people but without people in them and what this does is add a ghostly, dislocated feel to the narrative, which I found very clever and effective. It takes until page 18 before we see a person. This soon turns into an almost forensic examination of the mental illness plaguing generations of her family, which is compelling as it is haunting. There is no doubt about Kimball’s artistic talents, or the overall quality of this memoir. As a personal journey and family project it must be invaluable. Clearly this is a deeply personal and painful account to write about, but I just don’t think this story is as interesting to read for an outsider as it would have been for the author to write about. Ultimately I believe the problem with this is in the editing, it was just too long, I think this version is the one she could have kept for her and her family and there could have been a shorter, sharper version for the wider audience.

  4. 5 out of 5

    pattrice

    Only at the end do we learn that one of the people with psychosis at the center of this story specifically said that she did not want her private medical information published. That person's most personal sorrow is now published -- with her name attached to it! -- for all the world to see. I thought that the despicable David Sedaris's self-aggrandizing misuse of the story of his sister after her death by suicide was the lowest of the low, but now this is at least as bad. Words cannot express my Only at the end do we learn that one of the people with psychosis at the center of this story specifically said that she did not want her private medical information published. That person's most personal sorrow is now published -- with her name attached to it! -- for all the world to see. I thought that the despicable David Sedaris's self-aggrandizing misuse of the story of his sister after her death by suicide was the lowest of the low, but now this is at least as bad. Words cannot express my disgust that the author chose to elevate herself at the expense of people with psychiatric disabilities. She excuses it by saying that writers are vampires, as if she had no choice. There are, in fact, ways to write memoirs about growing up with family members with psychiatric disabilities that do not entail literally reproducing the records of their hospitalizations. But this writer chose, quite deliberately, to expose a person more vulnerable than herself to the most sadistic exposure I can imagine. We get it. You're mad at your mom for being crazy. That's still no excuse for harming her in this way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alissa Tsaparikos

    Memoir writing is such an interesting and personal thing. It is both a story for the reader to consume, and also a way for the narrator to work out the complexities of their own life's story. I was drawn to this story due to the mental health and family matters that permeate Kimball's life story. My own version of bibliotherapy so to speak. In that way the story doesn't disappoint and I felt the narration was a raw and real portrayal of the authors life, feelings, and experiences. However, as a Memoir writing is such an interesting and personal thing. It is both a story for the reader to consume, and also a way for the narrator to work out the complexities of their own life's story. I was drawn to this story due to the mental health and family matters that permeate Kimball's life story. My own version of bibliotherapy so to speak. In that way the story doesn't disappoint and I felt the narration was a raw and real portrayal of the authors life, feelings, and experiences. However, as a reader, the format of static scene pictures accompanied by clustered and frenetic text was halting for me and left me disconnected from the overall journey. I do understand the thought process, as it more closely resembles the montage of pictures, missives, and notes that often make up a personal history. But from a storytelling standpoint it wasn't a good gel for me as a reader. However, for those who really get behind scrapbooking and family history this would be a good read for them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    This is one of the only memoirs, illustrated or not, that I have ever read in which the memoirist really tries to understand a sibling's thoughts and motivations. To me, the standout chapter is "The Interview," even though it's the least interesting chapter visually. In most of the book, Kimball is hyperfocused on herself—something that most memoirists do. But in the interview chapter, she talks to her older brother and tries to understand his worldview. This is partly because she wants to under This is one of the only memoirs, illustrated or not, that I have ever read in which the memoirist really tries to understand a sibling's thoughts and motivations. To me, the standout chapter is "The Interview," even though it's the least interesting chapter visually. In most of the book, Kimball is hyperfocused on herself—something that most memoirists do. But in the interview chapter, she talks to her older brother and tries to understand his worldview. This is partly because she wants to understand mental illness, which has emerged in several family members, and partly because she is so close to this brother that it's hard for her to comprehend where she ends and he begins.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I was uncomfortable with this book. It felt ableist which is pretty typical of mental health memoirs by family members but the interview of her schizophrenic brother towards the end made my heart sink since I recognized that rhythm, that tone, that shame. & the fact her family wasn't entirely okay with her book but she puts in an interview to expose that soft underbelly, the rambling speech everyone imagines when they think of people with 'scary' mental illnesses. I was uncomfortable with this book. It felt ableist which is pretty typical of mental health memoirs by family members but the interview of her schizophrenic brother towards the end made my heart sink since I recognized that rhythm, that tone, that shame. & the fact her family wasn't entirely okay with her book but she puts in an interview to expose that soft underbelly, the rambling speech everyone imagines when they think of people with 'scary' mental illnesses.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin Cataldi

    The cover alone grabbed me. This graphic novel memoir was twisty and compelling from the get go. Told through the eyes of the middle daughter, Margaret tries to uncover the family secrets and history that was hidden intentionally and unintentionally. The mental illness and suicide attempts didn't have to be shameful, they just needed to be understood and unearthed. Going back in forth from childhood to adulthood and back again - this non linear memoir is breathtakingly illustrated. Each frame, m The cover alone grabbed me. This graphic novel memoir was twisty and compelling from the get go. Told through the eyes of the middle daughter, Margaret tries to uncover the family secrets and history that was hidden intentionally and unintentionally. The mental illness and suicide attempts didn't have to be shameful, they just needed to be understood and unearthed. Going back in forth from childhood to adulthood and back again - this non linear memoir is breathtakingly illustrated. Each frame, map, and character is laid bare. At times viewed through a youthful lens and later more mature. No family is perfect and Margi looks to chronicle her family's history rather than hide it. Compelling and wonderfully illustrated.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erin Goettsch

    This is really compelling and really well-written but oooof it’s all the tough parts of a memoir with very little of the warmth. The complicated decision to write about people who pretty clearly seemed to not want to be written about made me feel unsettled. I liked this! It was good! I’m also unsettled.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samidha; समिधा

    DNF at 254 I have been at it for 2 weeks now and decided to finally return this back to the library on the last day of the year because I know I won’t be finishing it. When I picked it up I thought it would be on the lines of Bechdel’s Are You My Mother - which focuses on the psychological effects an aloof parent can have on a child’s personality. It’s a deeply personal memoir with a lot of incidents that rely heavily on memory, but Bechdel explains them with the help of quotes from child psycho DNF at 254 I have been at it for 2 weeks now and decided to finally return this back to the library on the last day of the year because I know I won’t be finishing it. When I picked it up I thought it would be on the lines of Bechdel’s Are You My Mother - which focuses on the psychological effects an aloof parent can have on a child’s personality. It’s a deeply personal memoir with a lot of incidents that rely heavily on memory, but Bechdel explains them with the help of quotes from child psychologist. The illustrated memoir paints a beautiful arc of childhood trauma and recurring patterns, ending with adulthood acceptance. I would highly recommend that one if you haven’t already checked it out. However, this book was nothing like it. For one And Now I Spill the Family Secrets is exactly what it sounds like, the author discusses the family secrets - multiple depressive episodes of her mom, inherited mental illness, her childhood with divorced parents, second marriages - that should remain secrets as many family members didn’t want her dissecting their life in extreme detail. And yet there is no depth in the whole book. It is just surface level. It feels like she’s just discussing in detail her life and the ups and downs she faced due to her mother’s illness. There is no learning curve, there is no psychological linking to what we are reading. Only a detailed year to year, without any food for thought. Yes, the author discusses mental illness and how hiding it can have grave repercussions on generations to come but that statement is repeated over and over without any psychological backing or research. Margaret Kimball is very unknown to me. And so reading her memoir I would expect her to build some character study for herself so that the reader can relate. The whole memoir is from her perspective and yet she feels aloof and weirdly unknowable even by the end of it, and a major reason for that is the way she writes. The author constructed the memoir by relying on her diary entries as a child, and she writes the whole book in a similar tone. Writing in a diary for only your eyes is very different from wiring a memoir. Most passages are so generic and mundane: I did this and then this happened and my dad did this and then this. It’s a word by word of what her everyday looked like. I don’t want to say it but I felt extremely bored. By the mid-way point I was really wondering when the character arc would begin, not just for her but also for her mother’s illness. The book is just too long, there are passages describing parties and speeding tickets and bitchy school nurses which add absolutely nothing to the theme of the memoir. I could go on and go about the things that felt off to me, but more than anything I felt it was a profound waste of time. It’s not a discussion or a dialogue into changing how we view mental illness, it’s more like a detailed essay on how she felt and adjusted while her mother suffered manic and suicidal episodes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Raina

    I don't think you can get to be an adult human without grieving something. Personally, I'm grieving the loss of a relationship with my parents due to their homophobia. I posted a quote from page 200 of this book about grief that resonated with me. Kimball is grieving what she lost from life due to her mother's mental health struggles. She describes events from her childhood, and how each member of her family coped with the trauma. The art choices of this book really stood out to me. There are no " I don't think you can get to be an adult human without grieving something. Personally, I'm grieving the loss of a relationship with my parents due to their homophobia. I posted a quote from page 200 of this book about grief that resonated with me. Kimball is grieving what she lost from life due to her mother's mental health struggles. She describes events from her childhood, and how each member of her family coped with the trauma. The art choices of this book really stood out to me. There are no "live" scenes with human figures in them. All of the images are stills of empty rooms, objects, outdoor places. If human figures do appear, they're in illustrated recreations of photos, or stills from recorded video. That haunting approach affected me, as a reader, in a few different ways. Kimball's illustrations are stark black and white with some grayscale. When I read that she's illustrated coloring books that fact made perfect sense to me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Some books get better as you read further, some get more tedious. Margaret Kimball's graphic memoir, And Now I Spill the Family Secrets, is an example of the former. Her story follows the role of mental illness in her family. Her great-grandmother was hospitalized with schizophrenia, her grandmother apparently had postpartum depression, her mother bipolar disorder. Her brother is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who had been given at least one crisis evaluation, according to the police officer, be Some books get better as you read further, some get more tedious. Margaret Kimball's graphic memoir, And Now I Spill the Family Secrets, is an example of the former. Her story follows the role of mental illness in her family. Her great-grandmother was hospitalized with schizophrenia, her grandmother apparently had postpartum depression, her mother bipolar disorder. Her brother is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who had been given at least one crisis evaluation, according to the police officer, because "you stopped and asked me about internet stalking and all kinds of crazy stuff that makes no sense" (p. 260). The author briefly referred to her problems with alcohol. In the beginning of Family Secrets, Kimball describes rather than reflects. She is a lost child amidst chaos – loving parents who divorce, as one is warm and chaotic, while the other is silent, yet stable. Her illustrations are attractive, but decorative and thus distancing. She identifies the colors of the living room couch and chair in asides for no apparent reason. The only times that people show up are in her redrawn photographs. I missed the greater immediacy of Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir, Fun Home, and the layering of images and ideas that she included. Kimball's drawings felt flat in comparison. Family tree and table of Contents, pp. 9-10 As a description of the damage that having a mentally-ill parent can cause, the beginning of Family Secrets is good, although slow. She watches her mother's manic episodes and hospitalizations helplessly from the sidelines, while her father attempts to protect her by removing her from her mother's home. Her stepmom blows up at her stepchildren for no apparent reasons, although maybe hers are the garden variety reasons that challenge all blended families. I found the ending more interesting, as here there was some arc to her story. As Kimball and her siblings attempted to reconnect, she both recognized the degree to which her brother Ted was struggling and challenged her strategies for responding to his craziness: How could I help my brother without alienating him?// I thought of three options: First, I could believe Ted wholeheartedly and agree with every description, from government chips to gang stalking. // Second, I could disagree and tell him he was delusional. // This second option meant losing my relationship with my brother forever. // Third, I could listen and remain neutral and nonjudgmental. // I could agree with the things I actually agreed with (governments do spy) and disagree with the things I thought were incorrect (the guy sipping his coffee is not following us (p. 231, paragraphing deleted for this context) Many of us – whether we are talking to crazy relatives or conspiracy-focused acquaintances on social media – only think about the Truth and winning the argument. When we attempt to win, everyone loses. When active listening, there's an opportunity for something more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kailyn

    The book lost its grip on me about halfway through, and by the end I felt pretty "meh" about the whole thing. I feel like the book lost its intended purpose, of which I'm still confused about. The choice of illustrations was interesting at first, but made the book kind of dry. The lack of conclusion also had me confused. I also read some other reviews that stated they think the author exploited her family's mental illnesses for her book, and I'm tempted to agree. The ending didn't provide a sati The book lost its grip on me about halfway through, and by the end I felt pretty "meh" about the whole thing. I feel like the book lost its intended purpose, of which I'm still confused about. The choice of illustrations was interesting at first, but made the book kind of dry. The lack of conclusion also had me confused. I also read some other reviews that stated they think the author exploited her family's mental illnesses for her book, and I'm tempted to agree. The ending didn't provide a satisfactory reason for "spilling" her family's secrets. There was no thoughtful and respectful discussion of mental illness and its effects on loved ones. We barely see any emotional response from the author or how her childhood affected her adult life. It was all very clinical and factual, which is a strange way to portray a history of your family's hardships and illnesses. The only questions asked of her family members were self-serving. I don't remember their own words about how their diagnoses affected them or their own experiences of living with one. All we get is some discomfort at having their personal experiences being displayed so publicly. So again I ask: why was this book written? (Sorry for rambling on there. I just finished the book and I feel so dissatisfied).

  14. 5 out of 5

    JennyCash

    I don’t understand how the author published this and her family members are still alive and speaking to her. Maybe they’ve stopped. Suicide and mental illness are difficult and important subjects. I’m just not sure this was the right way to do it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I won this as my first ever book won from the Goodreads giveaways. Not only was it the first one I’ve ever won, but it was a print book! This is a memoir unlike any other I’ve ever read. The artist chose to turn this memoir into a graphic novel (which is not something I’ve ever read or been interested in, however this one was really good. ) The art work adds so much to the story she tells. Everyone has something about or in their family that people just don’t talk about. Events that happen. Peop I won this as my first ever book won from the Goodreads giveaways. Not only was it the first one I’ve ever won, but it was a print book! This is a memoir unlike any other I’ve ever read. The artist chose to turn this memoir into a graphic novel (which is not something I’ve ever read or been interested in, however this one was really good. ) The art work adds so much to the story she tells. Everyone has something about or in their family that people just don’t talk about. Events that happen. People that drift in and out and in and out, or just disappear. Everyone has that family member they try to hide away, or is estranged for whatever reason. This novel take on those deep family secrets found in the life of the author. Sometimes it’s nice to slip away and see that all people and families are the same. We all struggle. We all fight. We all hate. We all cry. We all mourn. We all lose and we all win. But most of all, We all love. Thank you so much to #Goodreads and the Goodreads Giveaway program, along with the publisher and author for the opportunity to read something I would not have picked up otherwise. This beautiful print book was sent to me in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Zavala

    I savored this illustrated memoir over the last few days. Margaret Kimball recounts her childhood memories beginning with her mother's attempted suicide. Kimball's memories show how family secrets and mental health affected her throughout her youth. This book successfully shows the impact of mental health on a child and their entire family. Even trickling down through the generations. I don't read many graphic novels, so I can't really give a proper review regarding the illustrations. I just know I savored this illustrated memoir over the last few days. Margaret Kimball recounts her childhood memories beginning with her mother's attempted suicide. Kimball's memories show how family secrets and mental health affected her throughout her youth. This book successfully shows the impact of mental health on a child and their entire family. Even trickling down through the generations. I don't read many graphic novels, so I can't really give a proper review regarding the illustrations. I just know it worked for me. CW for suicide, schizophrenia, and post partum depression

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Bruning

    Remember that scene in “You’ve Got Mail” where Joe is explaining to Kathleen his relationship to his aunt Abigail and his brother Matthew and he says “We are... an American family”? This incredible memoir is Margaret Kimball’s way of saying the same thing. Her approach to storytelling is utterly unique, but the story itself is likely much more common than we realize. I was blown away by her talent and attention to detail and will be enthusiastically recommending this one to literally everyone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    literally NO secrets were spilled???? what tf do you mean “and now i spill the family secrets” ??? you said…. nothing? anything of curiosity, the author NEVER learns about irl so like…. no answers. i sincerely am having a hard time understanding the point?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Rupolo

    I haven’t been this engrossed in a graphic novel in a long time! The illustration style is beautiful and the story is a tender gift to us as readers. Read this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erika Lynn (shelf.inspiration)

    4.5 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “We were all a constellation of stars orbiting around this center of our lives.” - And Now I Spill the Family Secrets. Using old diary entities, hospital records, home videos, and other archives, Margaret pieces together a narrative map of her childhood—her mother’s bipolar disorder, her grandmother’s institutionalization, and her brother’s increasing struggles—in an attempt to understand what no one likes to talk about: the frac 4.5 Stars See more on my Bookstagram: Shelf.Inspiration Instagram “We were all a constellation of stars orbiting around this center of our lives.” - And Now I Spill the Family Secrets. Using old diary entities, hospital records, home videos, and other archives, Margaret pieces together a narrative map of her childhood—her mother’s bipolar disorder, her grandmother’s institutionalization, and her brother’s increasing struggles—in an attempt to understand what no one likes to talk about: the fractures in her family. If you are interested in memoirs at all, you need to go pick this up ASAP. Of non-fiction books, memoirs are my favorite sub-genre so I have read quite a few of them. However, I have yet to read one quite like this! This memoir follows Margaret as she works to piece together the fractured past of her family starting from the generations before her, her childhood, and into the current day. It is written in almost a graphic novel sort of style. Each page has full-illustrations that correspond to the story being told. This makes it such a quick and striking read, and I think it really makes it that much more personable. I can’t imagine how long this took to write and illustrate, as Margaret had to piece together this story from family member’s recollections and documents that she could find, as well as do the illustrations. If you enjoy memoirs, books about family (generational aspects, dynamics etc.), or books that talk about mental health, pick this up!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This graphic memoir held my attention. The author describes the mental illness and trauma extending through the generations in her family. The catalyst for her research into her family's secrets was the revelation that her mother had attempted suicide when Kimball was a child. She researches her mother and maternal grandmother's mental health histories, and then recounts the story of her own childhood and the dissolution of her parents' marriage. The story is told with detailed illustrations and This graphic memoir held my attention. The author describes the mental illness and trauma extending through the generations in her family. The catalyst for her research into her family's secrets was the revelation that her mother had attempted suicide when Kimball was a child. She researches her mother and maternal grandmother's mental health histories, and then recounts the story of her own childhood and the dissolution of her parents' marriage. The story is told with detailed illustrations and straightforward prose. It's a sad, complicated story, but one that many of us will be able to relate to. The author is startlingly honest. Sometimes I wondered what the purpose of all this airing of dirty laundry accomplishes other than schadenfreude. Kimball is a compelling storyteller and fine illustrator. But memoir should be a starting point for art, and this one seemed to get bogged down in the story, and it did not achieve that next level.

  22. 5 out of 5

    V. Weston

    A gorgeous, gorgeous book. Her illustration style is how I would illustrate my life and memories if I were so talented. But beyond the graphics, this memoir is an intricate, deepest-possible-dive into living with/having family members with mental illness. I'm glad I read this one, and I highly recommend it. A gorgeous, gorgeous book. Her illustration style is how I would illustrate my life and memories if I were so talented. But beyond the graphics, this memoir is an intricate, deepest-possible-dive into living with/having family members with mental illness. I'm glad I read this one, and I highly recommend it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (The Book Club Mom)

    I’m a child of the ‘80s, so I grew up with Archie comics. I shared a HUGE collection with my two older brothers, and we begged our mom to buy us more every time we were in line at the grocery store. So now, when my son begs for another Dog Man or Investigators graphic novel, it’s always a yes from me. I jumped at the chance to participate in the book tour for And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir by Margaret Kimball. Illustrations AND some juicy family drama? Yes, please. Sig I’m a child of the ‘80s, so I grew up with Archie comics. I shared a HUGE collection with my two older brothers, and we begged our mom to buy us more every time we were in line at the grocery store. So now, when my son begs for another Dog Man or Investigators graphic novel, it’s always a yes from me. I jumped at the chance to participate in the book tour for And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir by Margaret Kimball. Illustrations AND some juicy family drama? Yes, please. Sign me up! I whizzed right through this book in just a few sittings. Kimball does exactly what the title suggests. The readers receives a raw, real, and detailed look at the family’s rocky dynamics in the midst of tragedy, divorce, and mental illness. The honesty and courage Kimball displays by sharing these difficult events and dark secrets from her childhood is very admirable. This coming-of-age story is an extremely unique reading experience, and I highly recommend you read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    Another graphic memoir that falls into the "exhausting, uncomfortable, and impossible to look away" category. And Now I Spill the Family Secrets is perhaps better than some of its contemporaries in its dedication to detail and full exposure. Margi Kimball offers a welcome amount of both-sides-ness, which feels incredibly necessary as she explores the history of mental illness in her family. Particularly as all of the participants are still alive. Nonetheless, it all feels deeply, deeply awkward. Another graphic memoir that falls into the "exhausting, uncomfortable, and impossible to look away" category. And Now I Spill the Family Secrets is perhaps better than some of its contemporaries in its dedication to detail and full exposure. Margi Kimball offers a welcome amount of both-sides-ness, which feels incredibly necessary as she explores the history of mental illness in her family. Particularly as all of the participants are still alive. Nonetheless, it all feels deeply, deeply awkward. But you can't look away! Kimball crafts an absorbing tale that's not so much a mystery (though it seems to be sold as one) as a pure unloading of family history. It's annotated Ancestry.com. With the simplistic art, dedication to detail, and sharp, pointed chapters, it would feel right at home as a deep dive podcast. Reading the streams of dialogue, you can't help but hear the voice from Serial. I should note that And Now I Spill the Family Secrets is probably a deeply uncomfortable read if there's any mental illness or divorce in your family. Kimball digs into the painful details of both topics - it hits home as you recognize the commonalities, even if your life (or a friend's life) isn't quite so dramatic as Kimballs. I liked the book. I didn't love the book. I'm glad I read it. I don't know that I'd read it again. Kimball could have cut more wheat from the chaff, but this is a good stiff drink of a read. Recommended for memoir fans who are wary of the graphic format.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marin

    Having never read a graphic novel before, and not having much interest in them I was skeptical...but Emma Roberts told me to read it so obviously I did. And if you are in the same boat, here’s me (not as cool as Emma Roberts but still kind of cool) telling you that you should read this. It’s a beautiful, moving, and realistic personal look at mental illness in a family. Also all the pictures make you read more quickly so you’ll feel like a superstar reader.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    This graphic novel was excellent. Margaret takes us on a journey to uncover her family’s history with mental illness that was shrouded in secrecy and not talked about. The impact of divorce on young children was heartbreaking. I wish more people read graphic novels because this would be perfect for fans of The Glass Castle and Educated.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The art in this book is stunning and so is Kimball’s ability to reflect on her family’s story. She’s so honest and raw and open about her experiences with her family. I’m struck by her sections about Ted and how she talks about him and talks about how she works to understand him.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ally Puri

    Wonderful. Interesting, personal. Reminded me of my own family and how my relationship with my siblings is more apart of me than my relationship with anyone else.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mateen Mahboubi

    A super-personal memoir that seem to strip out all the personal parts out of it based on the format. I'm not sure why Kimball chose to use the graphic novel format but then decided to cut out all the people except for when referencing photos or videos. It was obviously a very conscious decisions but one that really took me out of it. Ultimately I'm not sure what drawings of front of houses and living rooms divorced of people in them helped to move the story along when compared to a text-only appr A super-personal memoir that seem to strip out all the personal parts out of it based on the format. I'm not sure why Kimball chose to use the graphic novel format but then decided to cut out all the people except for when referencing photos or videos. It was obviously a very conscious decisions but one that really took me out of it. Ultimately I'm not sure what drawings of front of houses and living rooms divorced of people in them helped to move the story along when compared to a text-only approach even with some photo reproductions included. Ultimately what we get are a bunch of static images with text on top. There is even some dialogue but it's basically presented in a back and forth way that isn't enhanced by the "graphic" nature of this memoir. The story itself is a challenging one focused on dealing with multi-generational mental illness in a family. I appreciate the honest exploration of how Kimball has dealt with the various members of the family even if they don't paint them in the best light in retrospect. Definitely a tough read at times.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ash’aa Khan

    I really wanted to like this book, but something was just off. The graphics were interesting because they set the scene, but I often felt like I was witnessing evidence for a crime scene or something very impersonal to me, so I felt detached from the story. There were also often little facts here and there, which were usually a hit or miss for me. Sometimes they added a personal touch to the environment, other times they just felt distracting and irrelevant. A lot of the chapters felt very anti-c I really wanted to like this book, but something was just off. The graphics were interesting because they set the scene, but I often felt like I was witnessing evidence for a crime scene or something very impersonal to me, so I felt detached from the story. There were also often little facts here and there, which were usually a hit or miss for me. Sometimes they added a personal touch to the environment, other times they just felt distracting and irrelevant. A lot of the chapters felt very anti-climatic; though considering this is a true story depicting real people, I understand that not every chapter will be super exciting. It wasn’t until around the middle that I started feeling more personally attached. I usually finish graphic novels within a few hours, but this one took me nearly 2 weeks to complete because the pacing just didn’t work. All that being said, I do think it’s worth the read because there are a lot of great passages and interesting points of discussion, I just often felt like they didn’t go as deep as I would’ve liked. I appreciate the amount of research and emotional turmoil that went into collecting the information and putting it on paper, which is why I feel guilty for not enjoying it. There were many beautiful moments as well, and around the middle of the book I became very fond of the narrator of her brother. This review is not to deter anyone from reading this book, it just didn’t click for me. I will likely read it again in a few months to see if my perspective has changed, but for now, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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