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I'm Crazy

A 128-page, self-published graphic novel, 2009.

Category: autobiography.

Author(s): Adam Bourret.

Adam worrying, with his boyfriend

Adam Bourret's I'm Crazy is the autobiographical story of a young gay man suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, who tries to build a life for himself and face his fears.
Built in a series of vignettes, this book takes the reader on a powerful journey, through the eyes of Adam's fictional self, with striking imagery cohabiting with everyday life scenes made all the more moving as the main character often fears losing his grip on reality.

The book opens with a scene depicting Adam and his boyfriend Alistair having sex. The impression left by that scene is that being gay is definitely not part of the problems Adam has to deal with. In fact, gayness is never brought up as a difficulty at all. Adam happens to be gay, so his love life is with a guy. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Then Adam (and the reader) can concentrate on what is the problem: ten years ago, Adam, then a teenager, was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and not the kind that makes you wash your hands ten times in a row. Adam has strong anxiety attacks, little things, little worries we all have in our daily life becoming so serious they inhabit all his thoughts. At various times, Adam worries about being a racist, a paedophile...and about something else, something so awful for him that he's told only very few people about it and which we come to understand through the whole book. In fact, his innermost secret is one of the narrative threads of a book which include several, making it far more than the sum of its vignettes parts.
This being a graphic novel, some strong visuals are used throughout, such as a tree painfully growing through his body as he stands in the streets, to figure an anxiety attack, or his suicidal thoughts taking the form of a weird, lumpy creature sitting contentedly on his bed. In fact, I thought the art was very effective in conveying the characters' thoughts and emotions, while enabling the reader (and maybe the author) to distance themselves slightly, through a style that doesn't try to do what mainstream cinema music usually does, i.e. control and amplify the reader's emotions.

Adam battles with fears of being left alone, of hurting people he loves, of being worthless. Most people have those thoughts at one point or another, but for someone with OCD, these fears can be crippling. The portrait Adam Bourret offers of himself in I'm Crazy is finally optimistic, as he shows himself surrounded by friends and family, becoming more comfortable with relationships of various kinds.

You can buy the book on the artist's site, or read the continuing serialization at the same address.

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