The Hospital Suite

The Hospital Suite

Book - 2014
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Poetic musings on illness and the art of getting by from a mini-comics master

The Hospital Suite is a landmark work by the celebrated cartoonist and small-press legend John Porcellino--an autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with illness in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 1997, John began to have severe stomach pain. He soon found out he needed emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor from his small intestine. In the wake of the surgery, he had numerous health complications that led to a flare-up of his preexisting tendencies toward anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Hospital Suite is Porcellino's response to these experiences--simply told stories drawn in the honest, heart-wrenching style of his much-loved King-Cat mini-comics. His gift for spare yet eloquent candor makes The Hospital Suite an intimate portrayal of one person's experiences that is also intensely relatable.
Porcellino's work is lauded for its universality and quiet, clear-eyed contemplation of everyday life. The Hospital Suite is a testimony to this subtle strength, making his struggles with the medical system and its consequences for his mental health accessible and engaging.

Publisher: [Montréal, QC] : Drawn and Quarterly, 2014
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781770461642
Branch Call Number: COMICS HOSPITA
Characteristics: 241 p. : chiefly ill. ; 23 cm


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Aug 22, 2017

Not realizing that "mental health" is a sub-genre of graphic novel, I stumbled onto "The Hospital Suite" and read it in a single sitting within the course of 90 minutes. Powerful and memorable if not totally satisfying. I immediately ordered another book by this author. I don't really want to know him personally (he seems like quite a head-case) but I'm interested in knowing him through his work.

Though he seems to have more than his share of neuroses and illnesses, there was a universality in the story to which I responded.

I enjoyed about 85% of this book and, because of the simplicity of the art, it makes me interested in trying to craft my own graphic novel. It is, after all, all about the power of the story.

Sep 27, 2015

Great little memoir about living with chronic illness/pain, environmental poisoning, and OCD. Could have done without one comment about his wife's therapist being a "man-hater". But other than that, this book offers a valuable perspective, especially for folks who work in the human services fields.

Jul 29, 2015

Very simple, but effective, pen and ink line drawings. Dialogue is okay, and sometimes the time line is unclear.

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