Book Review #42: It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

IT’S ALL ABSOLUTELY FINE is a darkly comic, honest and unapologetic illustrated account of the daily struggles with mental health. Ruby Elliot, aka Rubyetc, is the talent behind the hit tumblr account, ‘Rubyetc’, which has over 210k followers and growing. Taking readers on a journey through the ups and downs of life, the book will encompass everything from anxiety, bipolar disorder and body image to depression and identity, shining a light on very real problems – all framed with Ruby’s trademark humour and originality.

Ruby balances mental health with humour, making serious issues accessible – and very funny. With the superb talent to capture the essence of human emotion (and to make you laugh out loud), this book is as important and necessary as it is entertaining. IT’S ALL ABSOLUTELY FINE will include mostly never-before-seen material, both written and illustrated, and will be an empowering book that will make you laugh, make you think, and make things ok.

Being a former Tumblr addict, I had to admit I hadn’t followed Ruby Elliot during my many years scrolling through the site. But, first seeing this book in a bookstore drew up some hint of familiarity, like I had seen the drawing style before.

It first reminded me of Allie Brosh’s non-fiction cartoonish account of parts her life and her struggle with depression, Hyperbole and a Half. While Brosh’s debut was only in part describing her experience with mental illness, It’s All Absolutely Fine is completely dedicated to describing the struggles of the author’s mental health.

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At times dark and simply poignant, and other times hilarious, Elliot relatably recounts her struggle with mental illness through written pieces and short cartoons. Though only a part of her life, Elliot manages to share how it sometimes takes over, feeling like there is nothing else.

 

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from It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot, 2016

 

Elliot’s drawing style is very simple, yet signifies the often erratic side of mental health. The book is separated into parts, sharing specific experiences, although not chronological. This was less a complete autobiographical account and more of a sharing of experiences that are all too common. Some cartoons, unexpectedly give hope that things will get better.

 

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from It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot, 2016

 

While there are no graphic depictions of these, It’s All Absolutely Fine does mention self-harm, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Keep that in mind if you are still experiencing these or are in recovery.

Ruby Elliot’s sharing of her personal life through art shows others, even people who haven’t experienced mental illness, how difficult it can be and it is an invaluable piece of media that everyone should read.

 

★★★★
Four stars!

 

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