March 17, 2016

The Story of My Tits

Cancer is fucking horrible.

Everyone has been affected by the disease in some way, whether it be personally or through loved ones, and even in cases where the battle against cancer is won, everyone is left with scars from the fight.

When it comes to breast cancer, those scars are often literal, and not just figurative.

I’m not usually one to indulge in memoir and autobiography, but Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits isn’t a simple life-story written by a breast cancer survivor. It is, instead, the story of her breasts and how they have shaped her life, literally and figuratively, and of the other breasts—of her mother, her sister, her friends, strangers—that all contribute to her understanding of relationship with society, with her family, and with herself.

The illustrations in the graphic memoir are heavy and packed with information; the aesthetic starkness is information dense, and serves to contextualize, to ground the story in reality despite the occasional foray into the fantastic. It is not the illustration that shines in The Story of My Tits, but instead the dialog, some real and some re-enacted, that truly immerses the reader in Hayden’s life.

The scars—literal and figurative—that come from the battles with cancer are presented in all their glory in The Story of My Tits, and while the story is mostly hopeful, in the end a simple message resonates: cancer is fucking horrible.

It’s a message we all know, but Hayden reminds us that we can persevere through it, and that we can build on the scars that it leaves in its wake.


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