I don’t want to generalize these books, but I know that’s what my response is going to sound like. Perhaps I’ve read too many similar to this recently, but I’m going to start with a list of all the things this book reminded me of, but then also talk about why I felt it was different.
Prior to the publisher reaching out to me about this book* I actually hadn’t encountered Dharma Comics before, but this line drawing style isn’t anything new. It reminded me of a cross between xkcd and hyperbole and a half but with more of an intention and focus on getting through life and not just observations. And then add in that it reminded me also of books I’ve read recently such as Whose Mind is it Anyway? and How To Be Happy (Or At Least Less Sad), I’m a little surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.
I read this over lunch earlier this week and it was a much-needed reprieve from my daily life this week. The publicity sheet that came with it really does explain it perfectly,
“Most importantly, Drawn Together illustrates that whatever we’re going through, however sad or scared we may feel, someone else has been there and understands.”
This idea of collective experience and collective solutions really did ring through the book and I think it’s something someone who is interested in reading self-help books has to keep in mind. There was one illustration that picked at self-help books in a tongue-in-cheek manner where the self-help book was empty except for the words “Go outside.”
Where Pearlman drew me in was with the illustrations of quotes by others. In providing her perspective on these oft quoted phrases and ideas, she sometimes captured exactly what I was thinking, but in others made me look at the quote a little differently.
And then there was this drawing.
I’m seriously tempted to photocopy it and hand it out at work (or I’ll just print it from her site :-D). I’m apparently the person at work who is always saying “No.” I don’t mean it to be a final “No,” I mostly mean it as a “Not in this moment because we’re incredibly busy and something like that takes time and thought before we launch into it blindly.”
If I put this up on my bulletin board, I’m participating in the togetherness this book espouses. There is a great section at the end about sharing the drawings and the thoughts the book creates which again reminded me of How to Be Happy (Or At Least Less Sad), but in a different more interactive less self-focused way.
Recommendation: This is an incredibly fast read. I read it in one sitting at lunch, but I can definitely see going back to it for many reasons. There were illustrations I wanted to share with many people and may see if I can find them on Pearlman’s website for that purpose. I would definitely say flip through this if you ever see it because it is a great reminder that you’re not alone.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and have provided an honest response. No other goods or services were exchanged.
Opening Line: “Learning how to love: Can you love your crazy?”
Closing Line: “However you’re feeling, happy or blue, we promise to be here waiting for you.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)