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How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story
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How I Made It to Eighteen: A Mostly True Story

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  599 ratings  ·  143 reviews
How do you know if you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,140)
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Jasmine
so lets be honest there is nothing that is more productive to well everything else than an assignment that you don't really want to do. My assignment? a paper on neurotransmission. I thought that I didn't want to write this paper because I didn't understand it but I was wrong, I understand it fine in fact the book and I are fighting because I am having trouble finding the spelling for the terms that I want and it annoys me. The fact being I am 1 single spaced page into a 5 page double spaced pap...more
Sesana
This is a somewhat fictionalized (lightly, the author says) account of the author's stay in a mental hospital after having a breakdown. There's plenty going on in her life: depression, an eating disorder, drugs, isolation from family and friends, and a boyfriend who is both controlling and detached from the relationship. The story is completely contained to Stacy's stay in the hospital (Stacy is the author's alter ego here) so we have limited details on how she got there, and none after her disc...more
Marissa
From the cover and the art style of this book, on first glance I thought it was going to be a ya graphic novel along the lines of Ariel Schrag's chronicles of being a teenager, but it is actually a fairly dark, honest account of Tracy White's long stay in a mental hospital as an adolescent. I feel like there has been a recent rash of movies and books talking about mental illness in teenagers and I think it is a really difficult topic to take on candidly without it becoming too cliched, too overw...more
Steve
Would have liked a little more to have happened in this book. The moment she gets close to a breakthrough the story just stops. The art style is a bit simplistic, which works for it sometimes but falls short others. The fact that the book focuses so much on the perspectives of her four friends is another thing that kind of works for it but also kind of doesn't. And the fact that she changes her character's name to Stacy Black instead of Tracy White kind of got under my skin. If you're going to t...more
Mark
Stacy Black checks herself into Golden Meadows Hospital in an attempt to feel happy again, after putting her fist through a window at her apartment. This graphic novel follows Stacy's time at the hospital, as she adjusts to psychotherapy, deals with her issues, and comes to grip with her bulimia, even as she advises a fellow patient against it. The book flashes back effectively to moments from Stacy's past, which set her on her current path.

This is a pretty straight-forward story, but that's no...more
John
Aug 07, 2010 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comix
I've followed Tracy White's online comic "Traced" for a couple of years and was really looking forward to seeing and reading this book. I was not disappointed.

The art is White's typically minimal, yet deeply evocative, style. A lot of emotion lies underneath a few ethereal brush strokes. She also inserts four of Stacy's friends into the story who give their observations of events during different parts of the drama as it unfolds. In the process, they tell as much about themselves as about Stacy....more
Eric
Another graphic coming of age story. Lots of the usual elements: drugs, self-loathing, mental illness, eating disorders, parental loathing, you get the picture. Does anyone ever draw/write about living through a fairly normal high school experience, or is it only the most misery-laden lives that are chronicled and that we find interesting? Still, I enjoyed the book, the minimalist drawing style worked, and I liked the Greek-chorus of friends who are interviewed at various stages about their take...more
Kayla
For her first book this wasn't bad. Tracy White's drawing style is simplistic and matter of fact, black and white if you will, which I think is important when dealing with a subject matter such as this. I found that the character's spoke naturally and didn't feel forced. I enjoyed the count on the amount of time Stacey was in rehab, and the notes that were from the medical files written by doctors and nurses. I also appreciated the interviews with Stacey's friends, all of these contributed to gi...more
Sarah Laing
This was a graphic novel about depression and bulemia that you could read in one sitting. I suppose I read it for voyeuristic reasons - it was promised to be 95% true, and fueled by 85% chocolate. 85% is my favourite. I admired the incredibly spare art - no backgrounds, barely a feature, and yet everyone was recognisable. She had a rhythm/structure about the book that kept it moving.
Lisa
I thought this was an interesting account, but I wanted to know more about what happened to Stacey? Did she kick Eric in the shins?

Also, I found myself confusing some of the minor characters, and I wish the accounts of her friends were in a different font. The font that was used hurt my eyes, so I skimmed those parts....
Kate
I happened to pick up this graphic novel during work to pass some time. I had no idea that I was going to enjoy it so much and want to finish it. The title initially made me think the story was going to be funny anecdotes of high school life but instead was about how the character (based on the author) came to terms with her unhappiness. It was very sad...seeing people struggle with depression and addiction is hard, but seeing Stacey take the steps she needed to help herself was ultimately uplif...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Courtney
This is the mostly-true story of a teenaged girl who checked herself into a mental institution and got stuck there until realizing that she has to actively try to get better. Stacy had already been to rehab for her drug use, but it didn't stop the depression. Now that she's in the hospital, she's falling back into old habits; withdrawing and withholding. It takes months and several different hair cuts before Stacy begins to open up and begin to talk. When she finally did, she turned it into a co...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This is the author's memoir of when she had a nervous breakdown when she was 17 and checked herself into a mental institution. She admits freely to taking artistic licence with the truth for the sake of the story but as the title states it is mostly true. Told from the point of view of Stacy Black, 17yo high school graduate with no intentions of going to college she has moved out on her own...more
Rachel
How I Made It to Eighteen is the dramatic story of Stacy Black’s account of her stay in a mental institution. The author uses graphics and multiple perspectives to tell the story that she claims is mostly based on the true event of her own mental breakdown and struggles with bulimia.

Personally, I did not particularly care for this novel, though I can see its value for students who struggle with depression or bulimia. I found the protagonist to be overly whiney, and, for that reason, it was hard...more
Anne
May 20, 2013 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen, chs
How do you know if you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author's experiences, How I Made it to Eighteen is a frank portrait of what it's like to struggle with self-esteem, body image issu...more
Tasha
Based on the author’s experiences, this book takes a straight-on look at depression and self-destruction. Seventeen-year-old Stacy Black checked herself into a mental hospital to help deal with her anger and depression. She had just put her fist through a glass window. Stacy hated the hospital but knew that she had to be there to survive, so she stayed. As she spent time there, she developed new friends who helped her in her recovery and in being honest with herself. Told in graphic novel format...more
Kristen Fiore
When I first started to read this graphic novel, I wasn’t that into it. As I kept reading, I wanted to learn more about Stacy Black. She is a seventeen year old teenager who has a nervous breakdown and ends up smashing a window. From the way the graphic novel portrayed it, I almost thought she jumped out the window, but then she was alive in the next panel. Stacy checks herself into a mental hospital in hopes to get help for her problems. She struggles and has been struggling with body issues an...more
Laura
I like reading about psychiatric disorders and mental hospitals so I had to pick this one up. It's a juvenile ward which makes it a bit more heartbreaking. The drawings are really simple because, like her therapist tells her, it's about what's on the inside not the outside. It's unclear how old the author, Tracy White, is now but it feels like she might doesn't have enough distance from the event to talk about it honestly. The last page confuses me even more about the timeline (someone please ex...more
Alexei
{Sited from my website TeenageBookaholic }

In this "mostly true story", we're told about Stacy Black in her teen years. She's into drugs and is trying to shake off her bulimia. But once she decides to break a window on drugs, she realizes then that she needs to check into a hospital. She checks into a mental hospital, she comes to realize that the drugs and her bulimia are not the cause of her depression and suicidality, but the deeper feelings from her past. Can she repair her past to fix her fu...more
Monique
How I Made it to Eighteen, by Tracy White, sticks with you long after you've finished reading. We often tend to equate graphic novels with superheroes or "fluffy" stories, but this is the opposite. Based on a true story, White tells the tale of "Stacy," her seventeen-year-old self who suffers a mental breakdown and self-admits to a hospital for nearly half a year. Details about Stacy's breakdown are slowly and skillfully released via grayed-out drawings representing flashbacks. This enables the...more
Liralen
So close.

How I Made It to Eighteen is a graphic memoir, a genre I approach with caution. I often find that the art gets in the way of my reading experience - not a reflection on the art itself, but rather on how I approach books, I think. In any case, I don't read as many graphic novels/memoirs as I might, because adding art to the mix means yet another ingredient that may or may not add to the final product.

I wasn't disappointed on that end, mind. White's art is very simple, but she gets her po...more
Sara Thompson
In the juvenile section of our local library, there is a large card holder. The cards each depict a different graphic novel that the library owns. There is no description to the book so it's a case of judging a book by it's cover or title. Such is the case with this book, my son picked it out because the title sounded funny. I got the book first and was immediately shocked by the fact that this was not a humorous book at all. It's a great book and I look forward to hearing his reaction to it.
The...more
Becky
How I Made it To Eighteen: A Mostly True Story by Tracy White
As previously stated, realistic fiction is my jam and one of the sub-topics I read a lot in realistic fiction is psych ward business. It started when I first read Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern (Which I highly recccomend) in middle school, and I was really fascinated with this new idea that you could be so depressed that you had to go to a hospital.
A couple years later I was put in a hospital program for the first time and I obsessive...more
Chelsea
Stacy Black is seventeen years old when she puts her fist through her boyfriend's window and decides to check herself into Golden Meadows (restoring mental health since 1938). She doesn't intend to be there that long, but as the days stretch out, she realizes she is not quite well enough to be released yet. Stacy knows her time talking to the doctors and other patients is ultimately supposed to be helping her, but she just doesn't feel it yet. With the aid of fellow patient and friend Ashley, St...more
Clementine
Seventeen-year-old Stacy Black suffers a nervous breakdown, and after putting her fist through a plate-glass window, checks herself into a hospital. Over the course of half a year, she learns to deal with her depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and drug addiction. While in the hospital, she befriends a cast of characters who represent teenagers with a wide range of problems and addresses her issues with her mother.

White’s graphic novel is largely autobiographical, and her sparse black-and-w...more
Mallory
How I made it to 18 chronicles Stacy Black’s journey to happiness after she checks herself into a mental institute for putting her fist through a glass window just to feel something real. She is unsure of why she feels so depressed all the time, and honestly can’t remember how to be happy; all that she is sure of is that she wants to be happy. Slowly she unveils her personal issues with depression, lack of self esteem, drug abuse, and bulimia, and tries to get at the root of her problems – the “...more
Tessa
In keeping with the "mostly true" subtitle, Tracy changes her alter-ego's name to Stacy in this graphic novel. So simple, but very effective in driving home the slippery nature of memoir. You can feel the truth of the book - it's underscored through in the not-so-professional (but well-designed) drawings and right out front in the narrative. An especially nice part is how each chapter is punctuated by the views of 4 of Stacy's friends, answering questions from an anonymous interviewer: Do you th...more
ananka
I have a few people near to me that struggle with some sort of addiction, whether it is drugs, alcohol or eating disorders. This book helped me look at those illnesses from the person experiencing them's perspective. It made it a little easier to forgive and to stop feeling guilty for not "being there." This is a memoir style comic that tells how Stacy Black goes to a mental hospital to deal with the depression that has been slowly building up in her over the last several years. The situation in...more
Cindy Hudson
How I Made It to Eighteen by Tracy White says it’s “mostly a true story.” The book tells the experiences of Stacy Black and her journey from a breakdown through therapy and institutionalization and to the other side. It’s a powerful story in a simple presentation.

With words and images, we meet Stacy’s friends, and we get to read their perspectives on her personality and her actions. We see notes about Stacy from the records at Golden Meadows hospital. And we hear the words of Stacy herself. The...more
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