Ruby Elliot’s life has not been all sunshine and roses. She has suffered from intense anxiety and eating disorders, leading to severe ups and downs during what most folks take for granted as normal day to day life. In her new book It’s All Absolutely Fine, Elliot draws her responses to mental illness in a way to bring it closer to home with humor and poise. That being said, It’s All Absolutely Fine is not a simple read that you will hash out in one sitting. The subject matter is intense, and even with her spots of humor, it is a book that takes focus and empathy.
It’s All Absolutely Fine is a candid look inside the world of suffering from a mental illness. One of the most poignant comics involves a young woman asking Elliot’s self portrait why she isn’t skinny if she has an eating disorder. Elliot’s response is to ask the girl if she has a toaster. When the girl replies that she does, Elliot points out that having a mental illness is like having a toaster; you can’t necessarily judge that someone has it just by looking at them. The book covers anxiety, self-harm, depression, eating disorders, and trying to live a semblance of a normal life while going through them. I particularly loved a panel where Elliot’s self portrait drops a large brick on a scale and then goes to hang out with an alligator named Judith, as Judith has “good scales.” These moments of bizarre levity carry the reader through difficult topics and out the other side.
For women who suffer from mental illness, or even family members who want to understand it better, Ruby Elliot’s book is a life saver. Images of dogs wrapped in blankets admiring their loveliness, insecurities over nail polish, and other fabulous additions make the book laugh out loud funny, even with such a serious subject matter.
It’s All Absolutely Fine is available from Andrews McMeel Publishing on January 31, 2017.