Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression

Teresa Wong. Arsenal Pulp, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-55152-765-9
Framed as a letter to Wong’s daughter, this candid graphic novel chronicles Wong’s difficult transition to motherhood, including immediate postpartum depression. Though her husband does what he can to support her, and her mother tries to help by bringing traditional Chinese food for strengthening new mothers—pickled pigs’ feet and ginger, pork liver soup—Wong has trouble bonding, breast-feeding, figuring out how to fill the long days alone with the baby, and functioning in general. Descending into despair, she wonders, “Why am I so bad at this?” Wong confronts her depression and articulates well the ambivalent and negative feelings that are often treated as taboo; one full-page image shows a cutaway of her head thinking such thoughts as “She’d be better off without me” and “Babies are really boring.” The spare art consists mostly of simple, sketchy figures with wobbly expressions; while unpracticed, it also feels true to Wong’s state of anxiety. This raw but reassuring memoir filled with helpful suggestions to mothers struggling with similar situations and feelings is sure to resonate with many new parents. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/23/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Comics
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