When you read the title The sad ghost club, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming it’s going to be a sad story, with sad characters, a sad plot, and a sad ending – as with many other depictions of mental illness. However, as soon as you delve into the beautifully illustrated pages of this graphic novel, it becomes apparent that it is not the case; it is, in fact, an uplifting story that tackles mental health in a very sensitive way. Lize Meddings’ The sad ghost club provides insight into how mental health issues can affect daily life through the character SG, a ghost struggling for his well-being.
SG has appeared frequently on social media since 2014, in one-on-one comics that aim to raise awareness for positive mental health. As I imagine many people do, when I saw SG on the cover of this graphic novel, I immediately recognized them as the character I had come across on Instagram so often. Yet I always wondered to what extent a graphic novel could tackle such a serious, often very misunderstood subject. I soon realized that I was completely wrong to question this.
The nature of graphic novels allows SGC to depict mental health issues in a very accurate yet accessible way. Throughout the panels, we see SG deal with everyday life with symptoms of anxiety and depression and observe exactly what effect this has on “simple” daily tasks, academic performance, social interactions, motivation and motivation. self esteem. But the reason this book is so amazing is because, as the back cover says, it’s definitely not a sad story.
As a lovable character, SG inspires the realization that no one deserves cruel self-criticism.
SG’s struggles with motivation, self-criticism, and overthinking comfort those who see themselves in them. Struggling with mental health often feels very lonely and isolated, but SG’s character alone validates that other people experience it as well. As SG analyzes scenarios, such as getting out of bed or meeting people in public, in excruciating detail, it’s uplifting to recognize yourself in them and realize you’re not alone. CMS also manages not to tell a “sad story”, because seeing SG criticize himself so often encourages you to be kinder to yourself. As a lovable character, SG inspires the realization that no one deserves such cruel self-criticism.
The heartwarming nature of this story is only amplified when SG meets Socks, another sad ghost. The character of the socks contributes in two ways. The first being visually; SG has been the only “relatable” character so far, and also the only one not portrayed as human. As the socks are also portrayed as a ghost, they provide an indisputable reminder that SG, and you as the reader, are not alone in your struggles. Second, the conversation between SG and Socks sheds light on SG that other people feel the same way they do. After feeling lost and isolated in a room full of human characters, Socks brings solace to both SG and the reader, emphasizing the importance of reaching out and seeking out like-minded people.
There is a lot of stigma and misunderstanding around mental illness, and this book is a step in the right direction to raise awareness and open up the conversation about mental wellness.
The accessibility of this book not only makes it enjoyable to read at any age, but also addresses mental health issues in an easy-to-understand way. While those struggling with their mental health may find relatable SG and socks and look for support in this story, those who can’t relate are able to easily figure out what it’s like. Thus, Meddings’ goal of raising awareness for positive mental health is perfectly executed. There is a lot of stigma and misunderstanding around mental illness, and this book is a step in the right direction to raise awareness and open up the conversation about mental wellness.
The sad ghost club uses comic book art to create: the perfect pick-me-up for those struggling and looking for an uplifting story; a precise and clear story to recommend to those who do not understand; and, most importantly, evidence that books dealing with mental health issues not just has to be another sad story.
From Monday July 4 to Friday August 12, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature will be distributing free books across the city. Discover four titles championed by the city’s young people, inspiring Nottingham with the empowering power of words. Learn more here.