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Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  583 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The creator of the stunning visual memoirs Spilling Open and Brave on the Rocks continues her personal journey of growth and discovery in this collection of striking multimedia collages and prose that is raw, touching, and refreshingly authentic.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Villard Books
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Community Reviews

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Aug 21, 2012 AnandaTashie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, non-fic
Like her previous, the book looks a lot like an art journal with mixed media collages, photography, and writing. It focuses on her choices, her body image, her desire to love and live fully. There's a lot of beauty and quite a bit of melodrama. Yet...

A couple of spreads / passages made the book for me:

"I carry with me stories of forgiveness and how much I've tried not to worry. I carry my worry. I carry my concern. I carry a green chipped painted canoe and paddle. I carry Dad's fishing lessons
Feb 20, 2011 Kat rated it really liked it
In going back over my list of books, I honored Sabrina Ward Harrison's first book, and then realized I hadn't done a review for this lovely book. As a teacher, I have lent her books out to so many teen girls and they are like the best bandaid for the heart ever. They never talk down, they invite up! I like the idea of messy thrilling applied to life and every once in a while, even I, a so-called adult, need to be reminded to see life with feisty resilience. I need to remember a game I played whi ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel, memoir
(Non-fiction: Visual Memoir) I came across Sabrina Ward Harrison's work in a teen magazine when I was in high school and sought out her books. I have such respect and admiration for this woman. She has created 3 visual memoirs where she unabashedly and creatively captures the moments and times in her life that stretch her, challenge her, revive her, rejuvenate her. She has the work drive of a horse and the sensitivity like a peach, which reminds me of myself. I read her books every now in then t ...more
Brad Blackman
Aug 18, 2014 Brad Blackman rated it really liked it
Loved the messy, lush illustrations and personal angles.
May 21, 2009 christina rated it liked it
This book is a collection of narrative collage and photo essay of the authors time in NYC,

I am liking it quite a bit, mostly I admire her confidence in herself to make and publish these self reflections.
It does give me motivation that I find her journey interesting, but if it I were doing this book I would probably say to myself "who cares, no one will find this intersting" but it is!

Apr 15, 2009 Kat rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
It's visually stunning, and I certainly related to a lot of the emotions raised during her move to NYC and her initial time here. In the end, though, I didn't feel like I particularly gained much from reading it. I think I would have liked it more when I was in middle school or high school and trying to find my place in the world in a different way than I am right now.
Jun 08, 2010 Jennifer rated it did not like it
I really did not understand the point of this book. The pictures were interesting, but to me, not interesting enough to justify the book in and of themselves. The text was very difficult to read on most pages. Someone should provide the author with a proper writing implement.

Anyway, as I said, I just didn't really get it.
Oct 14, 2011 Dana rated it liked it
Not exactly what I expected, although I did enjoy some of the art.
The book is labeled as "Self Help" but it definitely isn't since it is actually a memoir done through art journaling of the author's life in New York. Unfortunately, a lot of the text is unreadable as well.
Feb 27, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok

"I feel a mixture of shy and powerful in this city. no one really knows me, and that feels free and a little scary."

"I don't know what I'm becoming."

Dec 01, 2015 Kelsey added it
Recommends it for: women
This is by far my absolutely favorite of all her books. There's one part with a portrait of a woman talking about having a segment on the news and it's so heart-touching.
Aug 04, 2014 Krissy rated it did not like it
Shelves: for-suggestions
Just not that exciting. I'd rather read a SARK book - it has some nice bits, but I didn't find it that beautiful or encaptivating.
Patricia Stewart
Jan 16, 2011 Patricia Stewart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspiration-art
The book reads as an art journal with the words combined with art. I enjoyed both the writing and the art work very much.
May 11, 2010 Nat rated it it was amazing
this book caught me and i havn't given up sabrina since!
Bonita Rose
Jul 23, 2007 Bonita Rose rated it it was amazing
Sabrina's follow up book.. I want this one too!
Jul 03, 2014 Calla rated it it was ok
Shelves: everyday-beauty
Not as inspiring as "Spilling Open".
Oct 25, 2007 Ashley rated it it was amazing
soooo good. everyone should own this.
Jul 23, 2016 Diane rated it did not like it
very disappointing
Brianna Gallett
Jan 21, 2009 Brianna Gallett rated it it was amazing
Amanda rated it it was amazing
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