Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point?The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she’d outgrown her passion–and she finally needed to find her own voice.
This book was not what I was expecting, and I won’t say it was. I was expecting a book about ice-skating, her experience and that kind of stuff. But this ended up being so much more than that!
When I bought this book I guess the only thing I saw was ice skating (which I love and know nothing much about) and that the art was beautiful and purple. How dumb was I, that I didn’t even notice that the author is also our main character, plus she was born in 1996, like what?! I envy her… This is beautiful!
It’s basically a biography of sorts, a memoir that follows her life ice-skating from 11 years old to 18. That made it so much more special.
Tillie is a character I really can see myself into. In a different way but our story has some similarities. So it was very easy for me to connect with her and feel what she felt. She had a lot going on in her life and for sure a lot wasn’t easy but in the end, I loved how strong and sweet she was.
The art is unbelievable. It’s just so beautiful and easy to follow! Also, the color made it even more appealing. It’s all in purple with yellow here and there and yet it’s detailed and expressive! I really have no idea how the author managed to do that but character-Tillie looks exactly like real life Tillie!
I would have liked some parts to get a bit more development and well, it wasn’t exactly about her love for ice skating… It wasn’t at all. But it did have ice skating and how her life worked around it. From being gay to making friends, to wanting to win, to being afraid, to family relationships, everything. It’s a beautiful book told in a unique way. I read it in one sitting and I already want to do it again!
Also, after reading this book, pay close attention to the author’s note and to the dedication. It just made my heart melt. I would definitely recommend this if you like coming of age novels and some pretty good artwork!
Have you read this yet? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!