Cover image for The hospital suite
Title:
The hospital suite
Author:
Porcellino, John, artist, author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Montréal, Québec] : Drawn and Quarterly, September 2014.
Physical Description:
241 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Summary:
"The Hospital Suite is a landmark work by the celebrated cartoonist and small-press legend John Porcellino--an autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with illness in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 1997, John began to have severe stomach pain. He soon found out he needed emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor from his small intestine. In the wake of the surgery, he had numerous health complications that led to a flare-up of his preexisting tendencies toward anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Hospital Suite is Porcellino's response to these experiences" --From publisher's web site.
General Note:
Chiefly illustrations.
Language:
English
Contents:
The hospital suite -- 1998 -- True anxiety -- Appendices.
ISBN:
9781770461642
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Poetic musings on illness and the art of getting by from a mini-comics master

The Hospital Suite is a landmark work by the celebrated cartoonist and small-press legend John Porcellino--an autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with illness in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 1997, John began to have severe stomach pain. He soon found out he needed emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor from his small intestine. In the wake of the surgery, he had numerous health complications that led to a flare-up of his preexisting tendencies toward anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Hospital Suite is Porcellino's response to these experiences--simply told stories drawn in the honest, heart-wrenching style of his much-loved King-Cat mini-comics. His gift for spare yet eloquent candor makes The Hospital Suite an intimate portrayal of one person's experiences that is also intensely relatable.
Porcellino's work is lauded for its universality and quiet, clear-eyed contemplation of everyday life. The Hospital Suite is a testimony to this subtle strength, making his struggles with the medical system and its consequences for his mental health accessible and engaging.


Author Notes

John Porcellino was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1968, and began drawing and writing at an early age, compiling his work into handmade booklets. His acclaimed self-published zine, King-Cat Comics and Stories , begun in 1989, has found a devoted worldwide audience, and is one of the most influential comics series of the past twenty-five years.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Porcellino has been self-publishing his autobiographical minicomic King-Cat since 1989, and for nearly as long, he's been suffering from serious health problems. After experiencing debilitating stomach pain, he underwent surgery at age 28 to remove a noncancerous tumor from his small intestine. The effect on his mental health was devastating: the chronic anxiety he'd long endured turned into full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. As he struggled with his illness, he moved back in with his parents, his marriage collapsed, and even his ability to draw comics was hindered. The Hospital Suite chronicles these travails as well as his efforts to deal with them through conventional medicine, therapy, nutritional treatment, and Zen practice, leading to his hard-won, if tentative, recovery. Porcellino's unstinting depiction of his harrowing ordeal is offset by his gentle graphic approach; with its childlike minimalism and unvarying, unshaded lines, Porcellino's might be the simplest and most straightforward drawing style in all of comics, which only adds to the relatability and honesty of this poignant memoir.--Flagg, Gordon Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Starred Review. Best-known for his long-running King-Cat mini-comics, Porcellino's memoir is sometimes brutal but exceptionally honest. The illnesses that plague Porcellino-chronic pain from an unknown cause and OCD-are exhausting and endless. The toll these various health challenges ultimately take on Porcellino's life range from minor irritations-the avoidance of certain foods, worries about "contamination"-to major disruptions, including stress on his marriage. Porcellino is well aware of his quirks, but like many OCD sufferers, unable to resist them; he's already a victim of anxiety and a rare disorder called hyperacusis before the afflictions detailed here begin. The ups and downs of his largely undiagnosed ailments and the endless parade of doctors, specialists, and hospitals only heighten his paralyzing anxiety. In King Cat, Porcellino excels at peaceful Zen moments of observation. Here, his simple, black lines and bare-bones drawings have a powerful economy that present the story cleanly, without flourish, detailing a frightening and inescapable spiral into dysfunction without hyperbole. The result is a clear-eyed, penetrating book about the helplessness of illness which should bring Porcellino a wider audience beyond his cult following. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Minicomics veteran Porcellino has published his mostly autobiographical King-Cat Comics for 30-plus years, spinning off collections (Map of My Heart) as well as illustrating other stories (The Next Day, LJ 3/15/12; Thoreau at Walden). This work brings together three overlapping accounts of his roller-coaster health condition, intercut with his appreciation for Zen writings as anodyne. Stomach pain triggers a misdiagnosis of Crohn's disease, then major surgery. Other problems include allergies, pesticide poisoning, and pyroluria, all complicated by anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and leading to family and work difficulties. Porcellino uses a very simple line style of drawing, which does not lessen the impact of his content and indeed makes it more accessible. His evocative lines show an economy of message, as when being "partially crazy" appears as a brain-space divided into plus and minus symbols while repeated small drawings show his compulsion to check and recheck if the refrigerator door is closed. VERDICT Porcellino's art has a Zenlike sparseness, and his highly personal, detailed account of unfortunately common-life roadblocks can help alleviate the loneliness of the rest of us with analogous problems. For high school age through adults.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-Minimalist line drawings depict Porcellino's grueling search for an accurate diagnosis for his elusive pain and subsequent anxiety. He describes his varying relationships with his cat, wife, diet, and faith and unglamorously shares his thoughts and observations through this arduous period. Despite the spare illustrations, the content packs an emotional wallop and successfully conveys the author's pathos. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.