The Emotionary: A Dictionary of Words That Don’t Exist for Feelings That Do

Eden Sher, illus. by Julia Wertz. Razorbill, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59514-838-4
Sher, best known for her role as middle child Sue Heck on the sitcom The Middle, debuts with a mordant assemblage of more than 150 portmanteau words, designed to alleviate “dyscommunicatia,” aka “the inability to articulate an emotion through words.” Definitions, pronunciations, and root words (“name + amnesia” creates “namenesia,” “forgetting someone’s name literally one second after they’ve introduced themselves”) accompany each word. Wertz (Museum of Mistakes) fleshes out several words’ meanings in b&w comics, starring herself and Sher, that aren’t afraid to get a little grisly: blood, guts, and disembodied limbs go flying after an “irredependent” Sher collapses under the weight of a heavy box, having refused Wertz’s assistance. Sher freely admits that the collection is born out of her own neuroses and communication struggles, and most chapters deal in recognizable moments of self-doubt, social anxiety, and introversion; a final chapter explores “fleeting moments of happiness,” including feeling relievedly “cancelated” when plans fall through. For emotionally “idiovated” readers, this is a wry reminder that they aren’t the only ones who feel that way. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator’s agent: Michelle Brower, Folio Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 10/18/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-448-49384-8
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