Lacy J. Davis
New Harbinger Publications, 2017
Audience: Adults, Older Teens
At once punk rock and poignant, Ink in Water is the visceral and groundbreaking graphic memoir of a young woman’s devastating struggle with negative body image and eating disorders, and how she rose above her own destructive behaviors and feelings of inadequacy to live a life of strength and empowerment.
As a young artist living in Portland, Lacy Davis’ eating disorder began with the germ of an idea: a seed of a thought that told her she just wasn’t good enough. And like ink in water, that idea spread until it reached every corner of her being. This is the true story of Lacy’s journey into the self-destructive world of multiple eating disorders. It starts with a young and positive Lacy, trying to grapple with our culture’s body-image obsession and stay true to her riot grrrl roots. And while she initially succeeds in overcoming a nagging rumination about her body, a break up with a recovering addict starts her on a collision course with anorexia, health food obsession, and compulsive exercise addiction. At the request of her last real friend, she starts going to a twelve-step Overeaters Anonymous course, only to find that it conflicts with her punk feminist ideology.
Blending bold humor, a healthy dose of self-deprecation, vulnerability, literary storytelling, and dynamic and provocative artwork by illustrator Jim Kettner, Ink in Water is an unflinching, brutally honest look into the author’s mind: how she learned to take control of her damaging thoughts, redirect her perfectionism from self-destructive behaviors into writing and art, and how she committed herself to a life of health, strength, and nourishment.
I enjoyed the art in Ink in Water in addition to the story. I learned a ton about body image and anorexia from this book. The author really did a great job explaining everything. One thing that I noticed about the art was that the illustrations of the author weren’t as flattering as I thought they could be. Was this a reflection on how the author saw herself, or just me overanalyzing? Regardless, Ms. Davis clearly went through a lot in her life and I’m glad she shared it with the world in this book. I hope to read more books by her.
(Also, I’m pretty sure that Ms. Davis’s co-author was the guy she met in the book and I wish they would have directly stated whether or not this was the case!)