When Raina and her mom wake up one night with a case of the stomach flu, they both think it will pass quickly. But soon, Raina finds herself getting sick whenever she feels anxious about food, school, and life at home in her crowded apartment. Guts is her journey of discovering how anxiety manifested in physical ways in her life and how she managed her fears.
I wanted this book to be longer. Not because it felt incomplete, but because I saw so much of myself in Raina's story and I had someone to commiserate with. I have suffered from anxiety and IBS since middle school, so this story felt like my story.
I think this will be an important book for kids and adults to talk openly about mental health struggles, particularly anxiety, and will help to normalize going to therapy. My favorite line from the book was when Raina is in a session with her therapist and struggling to find the words to explain how she feels:
"Thoughts can exist...
Feelings can exist...
But words do not always exist."
Finding the words for your thoughts and feelings is exactly why there should be no shame in going to therapy. To be able to name a feeling is so freeing. I'm grateful that a book like this will exist for kids to help give words to their thoughts and feelings. The fact that Raina is so open about these struggles will help end the shame and stigma many people feel about mental health and digestive issues.
Guts by Raina Telgemeier
Expected Publication: September 17, 2019
Genre/Format: Graphic Memoir
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: ARC provided by publisher
If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound.