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Look Straight Ahead

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Jeremy Knowles is a 17-year-old outcast who dreams of being a great artist. But when he suffers a severe mental breakdown brought on by bullying and other pressures at school, his future is called into question - as is his very existence! Can he survive the experience through the healing power of art? And just what does it mean to be "crazy," anyway?
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Alternative Comics
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  122 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, own
4.0 Stars
This was such a powerful graphic novel that told a complex story of mental illness in a very intentional way. I found the narrative gripping and read the entire book in two sittings, even though it's a fairly lengthy for a graphic novel.

I knew this was fiction, yet I felt it read like more a graphic memoir, because it provided such an honest narrative. While I am certainly not an expert on mental health, I believe this was a balanced, sensitive representation of a mental breakdown,
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jeremy is a depressed teenager, until events conspire inside his brain and he suffers a psychotic breakdown. After spending some time in a mental hospital, will going back to high school only cause him to unravel again?

This book brilliantly captures the thought process in someone experiencing psychosis. Somehow it all made sense as Jeremy pulls together the antagonistic forces in his life (bullies, the girl he likes who's dating someone else, his parents) and weaves it all together, coincidences
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was the first graphic novel I ever read. I never fully appreciated before the way a picture on a page could tell what was going on in the story better than words ever could. There are things words can't describe-especially with mental illness. There were graphics that I stared at for...I don't know how long. They were just so perfect, so accurate that at times I had to stop and catch my breath. The novel was beautiful, true, captivating-I read it in a day-and, in my opinion, an absolutely ...more
Mark Allard-Will
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Look Straight Ahead is a glimpse in to the World of Mental Health, but what separates this from the plethora of pre-existing literature on the subject? Well, quite frankly, it's unique perspective on the subject.

This unique perspective hits us almost immediately, in the form of visual metaphor for Psychosis (the experience of persistent delusion and/or hallucination), which brings us in to the story at the full-speed of the In Medias Res writing technique. From this point on, it's a
Dane Cobain
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Look Straight Ahead is a fictionalised version of a true story – that of author Elaine Will’s struggles with mental illness. Indeed, the book is extremely realistic in my view, but then I have first-hand experience of a few of the issues that it covers and second-hand experience of a few more. Loosely speaking, it follows the story of 17-year-old Jeremy Knowles, an aspiring artist, as he suffers from a mental breakdown, and the book examines the way that society deals with him, and how he deals ...more
Fantasy Literature
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars from Brad, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

Disclaimer: just so you know, some of the books we review are received free from publishers

Over the years, I’ve found that more and more I seek out unique black-and-white comics that, most often, are written and drawn by female creators. And I have a particular interest in any books dealing with mental illness. For example, one of my favorite graphic novels is Ellen Forney’s Marbles, a memoir focusing on her learning to live with
Calvin Daniels
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Unbelievable. Could not put it down.
Dena Burnett
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
Fast-paced story with incredibly emotive and immersive illustrations.
Alexander Finbow
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really insightful graphic novel that did a great job of taking me inside the mind of someone suffering from mental illness. That it is autobiographical makes sense give how vivid the episodes of delusion are. Recommended for anyone with an open mind.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
At first, this was a tough graphic novel for me to get into. The beginning of the story was jarring and disjointed. The worst parts about Elaine Will's art style were front and center: weak expressions on the characters, and an inability to really draw eyes. But as the story progressed, I was drawn in. The battle between real, unreal, subconscious, and mind against mind was fascinating and overall led to an enjoyable read. The ending tied things up a bit too neatly for my tastes, especially a ...more
Oli Jacobs
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply, Look Straight Ahead is essentially reading for those with mental health issues, or those who know someone who has. By telling Jeremy Knowles' story in graphic novel form, you really get an insight into the mind of someone with mental health issues, and how they struggle to deal with the bad, but also how they overcome it as well. Inspiring, beautifully drawn, and wonderfully told, this will take pride of place in my book collection, as well as helping me through a few things of my ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Being a employee of the mental health world, I found this graphic novel insightful and a great ride. The story follows Jeremy, a junior in high school that's having a lot of trouble coping with the everyday stressors of being a teenager. In response, he can't go to sleep which causes him to endure psychosis which is wonderfully drawn by the author of the story Elaine M. Will. This is a great short read and I would recommend it to those who are having a hard time in life.
G. Derek Adams
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really excellent depiction of depression and dealing with mental illness. I really appreciate that the victory is hard-won, and the symptoms believable. It gets a little muddled towards the end and the grace note was a little too chipper - but I can understand wanting readers dealing with similar issues to have that as a takeaway. Another warrior against the Dark. Art's very nice as well, but I would have liked even more explorations of layout and form as Jeremy's journey progresses.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is the first graphic novel I've read. I think I was attracted to this one because it deals with mental illness, which is something I observe at work every day. I definitely saw some behaviors and attitudes that I see every day. My heart hurts for the individuals and families that struggle with this disease all their life.
Ryan Miller
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at mental illness, from the inside. The swirling illustrations and blending of fantasy and reality helped me get a small glimpse into delusion and raised a slew of questions about how all of us differentiate perception from reality (and what is reality, if it isn't what we perceive).
Derek Royal
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at mental illness. I read the webcomics version for the podcast:
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Elaine Will is an illustrator and cartoonist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, most well-known for her acclaimed graphic novel Look Straight Ahead, a story about mental illness (and one of the last winners of the Xeric Award, from the final grant cycle). She also drew Dustship Glory, adapted from the novel of the same name by Andreas Schroeder. You can find more of her work online at her website, ...more