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The Story of My Tits

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,233 ratings  ·  238 reviews
A landmark work of graphic memoir and a cancer narrative that pulls no punches.

When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they’d held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding he
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 2015 by Top Shelf Productions
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,233 ratings  ·  238 reviews


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Elyse  Walters
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I requested to read this - and a couple other
Cancer- related - supporting books as my way to honor our friends who have suffered.
Since receiving this book to read - just last week, another one of my good friends has
recently been diagnosed. I found out 2 days ago. My stomach caved - again.

I've lost close friends to Breast Cancer . I've watched many more survive. I've driven a friend to her chemo treatments.. walked with her when she had energy... watc
...more
David Schaafsma
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The graphic memoir of Hayden's relationship to her breasts, with each chapter focusing on some aspect of them and how she is defined by them in any given stage of her life. An illustrator and fiction writer, Hayden published Underwire in 2011, and in it I liked her original and attractive style and snarky sense of humor. I just thought it was okay for a first effort. She says she got the idea for this project after reading Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen, as she herself is a breast canc ...more
Melinda
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, graphic-novel
I added this book to my to-read list after reading Nancy Powell's in-depth review in Shelf Awareness. Hayden's graphic memoir is "an emotionally gripping and self-deprecating, yet good-natured tale of cancer survival and a celebration of all things inherently female." Wow! Must read this, I thought, and put it on hold at the library.

But having finished the book, I can't agree that it's a "landmark work deserving a place in the pantheon of comics artists," even though Hayden is certainly talented
...more
Dov Zeller
It has been a while since I read this. I've fallen behind in reviews. To do a thorough review I'll have to take it out of the library again, but I'll try to say a bit, as I don't like to give star ratings without reflecting.

What I remember initially is being frustrated with the title. This is a memoir about much more than Hayden's relationship with her chest area, and to begin a very long memoir with this idea that it is focused on a particular anatomical situation was both misleading and a bit
...more
Emma Sea
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
loved it
Elizabeth A
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, graphix, memoir
If you are a woman your breasts are a significant part of your biography. There is that moment when you realize that you are no longer allowed to run around topless. There are those horribly restrictive days of wearing your first bra, and maybe later your first under-wire one. You might have been someone who agonized about the lack of growth in those buds, or alternately, someone who was anguished by how big they were getting. And on and on it goes. In no way am I implying that there is not more ...more
Mark
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, group-read
Jennifer Hayden grew up flat-chested. She was frustrated and embarrassed. Suddenly, she bloomed in her later teens. She was happy, with her new endowments and then her mother developed breast cancer and had a mastectomy.
Was her turn next? At age, 43, she was diagnosed with the same thing, targeting the same breast.

Jennifer decided to tell her story, in an illustrated format. It is brutally frank, funny and quite emotional.

Breast cancer runs in my own family: my mother, my sister and aunt were a
...more
Charles Hatfield
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Behind the wiseass title is a terrific book that does what great comics do: pulls you into someone else's way of seeing the world, their thought patterns, private symbols, and metaphoric links, their mental and emotional landscape, their braided associations and triggering images. A more profound and enthralling experience than I at first expected. Though I had thought that the book's rigid layouts, small, tight, busy drawings, and chatty, discursive style might add up to something too obvious, ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How do you deal with breast cancer as you try to live your life? As a man I am glad I read this important graphic novel...I had no idea how many different issues women who have breast cancer have to try to come to terms with.
Karyl
I made a stop at a library other than my home branch to pick up a movie, and that particular branch had an entire display on feminism, featuring books written by and for women. As a lover of graphic novels, especially ones that are also memoirs, I absolutely snatched this up as soon as I saw it.

This has to be one of the best graphic novels I've ever read. Hayden was a late bloomer, not developing breasts or even getting her period until her mid-teens (which made me intensely jealous, as I've bee
...more
Mari
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic, memoir
I love this book so much! Hilarious, sweet, sad, with so many clever little details if you look closely. Definitely one of the best books of 2015.
Nouruddine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emilia P
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-books
Don't be spooked by its provocative title! This book is not just about boobs! It is also about being a daughter and a mom and a wife and a woman searching for meaning and fulfillment in her life (and here and there, how her changing body was a part of those identities and that search) and also I guessss it's about breast cancer and also its about how mortality makes everything just that much more poignant and beautiful. But you know what? It's not cheesy. It's hilarious, and by turns tear-jerkin ...more
Hannah Garden
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: february-2016
I've been hesitating but ultimately a person must just say what she believes and the fact of the matter is that this is a perfect graphic novel, a perfect book.
Althea J.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Once again, I thank NetGalley for bringing this book to my attention by providing me with a free copy to read and review. I hadn't heard of this book prior to seeing it listed on NetGalley, and that is a shame. People should be talking about this book.

This is the story of a woman's life told through words and pictures. In 4 squares per page she captures her experience of the relationships, places and things she encounters, along with the inner voice (critic) whose running commentary we can all
...more
Karen
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes it seems that almost everybody I know has had breast cancer or know's somebody else who does. This fierce and loving graphic memoir is about Jennifer Hayden's own harrowing struggle through Stage 0 breast cancer when she was in her forties as well as the story of her mother's mastectomy when Ms Hayden was younger. What I enjoyed most about Ms Hayden's story was her ability to show us how a family, over time and through affairs, divorce, step parenting and of course, the brutal diagnosi ...more
Stewart Tame
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book is amazing! I'm baffled as to why cancer narratives are a sizeable genre unto themselves in the graphic novel world, but The Story of My Tits is one of the better ones. Jennifer Hayden delivers on the title's promise, tracing her story from pre adolescence to the present. The book is warm and funny and wise and tragic and uplifting and just generally a great big slab of life. For someone so late to the graphic novel party, her quiet command of the form is impressive. She has a won ...more
Raina
Inspiring. As I read this I considered the possibilities in telling stories through the lens of meaning-laden body parts. Framing a tale this way.
She definitely doesn't focus on her breasts during the entire tale - it feels a bit like a gimmick in places. It's really a story of her life, leading up to a major diagnosis.

I wanted her partner to be more fleshed out as a human - he didn't really go 3d for me until late late late in the book - I spent most of the book not expecting him to last in h
...more
Hannah
I should have liked this more than I did, but it just dragged on, and I (thankfully) haven't had the same direct experiences to break down over pages (see: Waves, Kid Gloves) that would make this book seem like my own unspoken thoughts.

More than anything, this is a graphic novel memoir that combines coming of age with aging, and while boobs are the official medium, they are often an afterthought in the journey from preteen to 50-ish adult with grown children.

Recommended for: fans of graphic nove
...more
Deborah Feingold
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WOW great memoir. Yes, it's about the author's breasts but so much more as well - love and its many possibilities and surprises, families in all of their permutations, survival, forgiveness, parenting and more. The graphic novel format works really well; I love the very busy panels and the plentiful text much of it playful. Hayden uses her drawings to express apt metaphors. I love her husband as knight in shining armor and the ropes that show the complicated ties that connect family members. We ...more
Stephanie (aka WW)
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Story of My Tits would be a good graphic novel IF (and that’s a big IF) it consisted only of the last 100 pages, where tits are actually the focus. The drawing is fine (except for the disconcerting fact that the main character kept changing her hairstyle and looking like a new person), there’s a nice solid plot, and there are plenty of witty remarks and sub-drawings. But in the 344-page book, there’s just soooooooo much. The artist’s whole life is in there, almost down to every tree and leaf ...more
Derek Royal
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a ambitious and visually detailed story of Hayden's life with her breasts. It's more than a book about surviving breast cancer, and it's even more than a book about a woman's relationship with her breasts and how (for better or for worse) they define her. This is a larger life story where relationships and cancer take the center stage. I wish I had had the opportunity to talk with Hayden at SPX this year. We're discussing this book as part of our Top Shelf spotlight on this week's p ...more
Trinity
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The story is engaging; the story, extremely personal. It reads extremely quickly, and is thoroughly well-written. Some of the edges are too painful, some of the people not trustworthy, and the art odd enough that it did not quite reach 4 stars.

I received a free copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Liz
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, and I read the whole thing in one long sitting (ok, I took a break to eat dinner, but otherwise, it was a marathon reading session!). Both story and the artwork are great and personal and unique: highly recommended for folks who like graphic memoirs!
Raluca
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, this graphic novel has been so funny and tender and damn life affirming I feel like I'm about to explode with creative energy. Seriously, you need to read this. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Allie
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A graphic novel has never made me cry before. I've never read one so deeply personal and with such a profound and beautiful message.

Jennifer Hayden writes with such humor; sharp, dark, and self-deprecating (just how I like it). The funny bits are not only a sweet relief from the achingly painful sad bits, they also make Hayden and her life that much more human. She's a real person, these are her real stories, and you can't help but feel them and believe them.

This is everything I ever wanted fr
...more
vostendrasamigosyotengolibros
I like the book but It was really difficult for me to finish, I fell that the narrative beat around the bushes a lot, but I liked the sincerity about everything and that it talks about really hard things without being overwhelming sad.
Oriana
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have been shit at reviewing lately. I never even mentioned that 2016 is the Jugs & Capes year of Only Reading Ladies, which makes me/us feel vaguely noble even though there are those who would troll us for it. Whatever.

I have little to say about this book I read eight goddamn months ago, because I am a slacker. But this is a lovely, hearbreaking, heartwarming, terrific memoir. I thought it got a leeeeettle bit hokey at the end, but given the subject matter, obviously anything is fair game and
...more
Adrienne
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into it--the author seems completely unaware of how privileged and easy a life she's really had, cancer notwithstanding (but even in terms of cancer, she got off pretty lucky). It makes it hard to like her, and after 340 pages of relentless navel-gazing (tit-gazing?), I can't help but imagine being stuck in line behind her at the grocery store, and her pitching a fit and holding up the line because her favorite brand of quinoa was out of stock.
Nadina
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first checked this out I thought it was a fiction graphic novel, so I was a bit surprised when I realized it was a biographical graphic novel.
I was slightly worried because it seemed to be taking me a while to get through (despite being quite funny/emotional) but perhaps until tonight when I finished the remaining half of the book (it took me 4 days total) I was in the right mindset and mood to read this.
It feels like quite a powerful graphic novel, and I really like that it is in graph
...more
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