I love graphic novels but don’t often read them. You can’t get them in our libraries and they are relatively expensive and don’t take me long to read. However, I made an exception for The Secret to Superhuman Strength.
First of all, here is Alison Bechdel describing the book.
Bechdel runs, climbs, bikes and hikes towards transcending the demons that chase her.
Her search is about quieting the mind which she achieves through exhaustion when skiing, entering a trance-like state when throwing and catching a tennis ball or just drinking and binge working.
But also woven into this story is a history of exercise fads, being gay, relationships, body image, feminism, bursts of creativity and her love of Jack Kerouac and Margaret Fuller used to magnify and explore her spirit. This is a complex, multi-layered book of a life that is always a struggle.
Having a strong connection to nature and giving up drinking shortcuts the journey and as the last three pages reflect
. . . as wisdom tends to do, the poem recalls something very simple that’s been there all along: we are not the center of everything.
This book is an existential marathon of wit, humour, family and the acceptance of the cycle of life. May we all get there.