The Hospital Suite
Poetic musings on illness and the art of getting by from a mini-comics masterThe 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.

The Hospital Suite Details

TitleThe Hospital Suite
Author
FormatPaperback
ReleaseSep 23rd, 2014
PublisherDrawn and Quarterly
ISBN1770461647
ISBN-139781770461642
Number of pages264 pages
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels Comics, Comix

The Hospital Suite Review

  • Hannah
    December 17, 2015
    This felt like reading Epileptic all over again.At first, I was engrossed with a story of chronic illness and the way family reacts to it - enough so that I could ignore the bad art. Then things took a turn for the worse.After the halfway point, the book shifted from being something you could give to a friend with a "Look! You're not alone!" awkward smile into "Look! Doctors are to blame for everything!" This was also the point where it shifted from being about maybe-Crohn's to OCD and pyroluria This felt like reading Epileptic all over again.At first, I was engrossed with a story of chronic illness and the way family reacts to it - enough so that I could ignore the bad art. Then things took a turn for the worse.After the halfway point, the book shifted from being something you could give to a friend with a "Look! You're not alone!" awkward smile into "Look! Doctors are to blame for everything!" This was also the point where it shifted from being about maybe-Crohn's to OCD and pyroluria (one of those diseases you pay talk show hosts to "learn" that you have even though it's not recognized by the medical community.)Like the Epileptic graphic novel, the MC here has a poorly-understood, chronic condition. And like Epileptic, questionable medical and cult choices are made while disregarding everything science has to say because of course you're going to do anything to fix this. As in, "let's lie about all the pills we're taking," "let's ignore the placebo effect," "let's not follow medication directions, then blame the doctors," etc.I'm sure this all sounds like victim blaming, but I think the book's overall attitude (and reliance on self diagnoses) contributes to a poisonous attitude surrounding mental health issues.
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  • David Schaafsma
    December 4, 2014
    Porecellino has a really messed up body and mind and doesn't mind our knowing it. This graphic memoir tells the long story of what would appear to be multiple chemical imbalances that have almost completely devastated his life, creating numerous physical problems, and also mental problems, all of which he fearlessly shares with us in his simple, straightforward, clean-line way. This is long, longer than it needs to be for this reader, though with its simplicity you can read it quickly. That simp Porecellino has a really messed up body and mind and doesn't mind our knowing it. This graphic memoir tells the long story of what would appear to be multiple chemical imbalances that have almost completely devastated his life, creating numerous physical problems, and also mental problems, all of which he fearlessly shares with us in his simple, straightforward, clean-line way. This is long, longer than it needs to be for this reader, though with its simplicity you can read it quickly. That simplicity in the drawing adds to the sense of honesty, of complete self-disclosure. I think anyone who has suffered depression, been crippled by OCD, anxiety AND all the physical ailments Porcellino has had will relate to it very well and gain some comfort from it. After all, he has gone through all this (and all the job/marriage/other relationship issues that come with all of the above).. and he STILL keeps writing comics… I think that's a service to all of us that he shares his challenges with others who have similar issues. Maybe it's the Buddhism and the comics that have most helped him survive.
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  • Dov Zeller
    May 10, 2015
    The loosely interweaving stories in this book seem to me a meditation on time, love and illness, and maybe even a meditation on meditation. Porcellino shows us a strange connectedness of moments across a landscape of troubled years that gradually come together in the form of a greater awareness until Porcellino is able to take definitive action on his own behalf. That is a relief. For a long time, he struggles to find helpful, meaningful medical care, and to make sense of his own experiences, an The loosely interweaving stories in this book seem to me a meditation on time, love and illness, and maybe even a meditation on meditation. Porcellino shows us a strange connectedness of moments across a landscape of troubled years that gradually come together in the form of a greater awareness until Porcellino is able to take definitive action on his own behalf. That is a relief. For a long time, he struggles to find helpful, meaningful medical care, and to make sense of his own experiences, and everything that might ground him tends to collapse, either because he holds it too tight or withdraws entirely. I don't know that this book is uplifting, but it's brave and honest and I'm pretty sure it is a gift of hope. If there is an underlying message it might be something along these lines: to be awake and alive is no easy thing, but if we listen closely, we can hear the textured, miracle music of that journey.
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  • Robert
    July 25, 2014
    Every few years D + Q puts out another book by John Porcellino and the world seems like a better place to me. My full review on tcj.com: http://www.tcj.com/reviews/the-hospit...
  • Peter Derk
    November 21, 2014
    I've decided to try a new thing here on Goodreads. Basically, unless I think something is a 5 or a 1, I won't be giving it a star rating. There are a couple reasons, and I'll list them here in the interest of full disclosure:First and foremost, I'll be putting in a proposal to Boss Fight Books, and I'm hoping to interview the publisher for LitReactor. And while I still want to talk about some of the contents, I'm not going to tear apart a book from a publisher I'm going to try and work for/with. I've decided to try a new thing here on Goodreads. Basically, unless I think something is a 5 or a 1, I won't be giving it a star rating. There are a couple reasons, and I'll list them here in the interest of full disclosure:First and foremost, I'll be putting in a proposal to Boss Fight Books, and I'm hoping to interview the publisher for LitReactor. And while I still want to talk about some of the contents, I'm not going to tear apart a book from a publisher I'm going to try and work for/with. I guess you could view this as the death of my honesty, but I don't see it that way at all. I think this is me being honest about how it's impossible for me to be objective in this situation, and I'm proud to be able to tell you and be upfront about it. My objectivity is pretty questionable when I'm reviewing a small press I want to work for, and I think I'll better serve everyone by being honest about it.Second, for me personally, I think the star system doesn't really work. I can only tell you what I thought of something, but I think I'd rather use my words in the space provided than just click a star. It's just too easy to make a snap judgment and give something a two-star rating, when really it might deserve more. And while that doesn't matter much to me, it probably really sucks for the author.Now, all that said, I'm still going to 5-star and 1-star stuff. The reason being, 5-star books deserve 5-star attention. If I give something 5 stars, it's because I think it's truly great. And I'm not too generous with those. I've got 87 5-star ratings on here, which amounts to 8% of the books I've starred. Also, 1-star reviews will still be happening. Because I believe in that too. So cheers to a new system, and we'll see how it goes.
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  • Susie
    July 28, 2014
    I read this book with tears streaming down my face. If you are prone to depression, have had any kind of mysterious illness or medical mystery, have seen a loved one suffer through medical treatment, or are simply a compassionate person, expect this one to hit you hard. Especially the eponymous story.I have always loved the work of John P. and the deceptive simplicity of his work. His work is so relatable; Reading it, he feels like a long lost friend. And maybe it's that feeling of knowing him t I read this book with tears streaming down my face. If you are prone to depression, have had any kind of mysterious illness or medical mystery, have seen a loved one suffer through medical treatment, or are simply a compassionate person, expect this one to hit you hard. Especially the eponymous story.I have always loved the work of John P. and the deceptive simplicity of his work. His work is so relatable; Reading it, he feels like a long lost friend. And maybe it's that feeling of knowing him through the years -- combined with his perfect pitch story telling and simple, effective line work -- that affected me so much.These stories are united by hospital visits, psychological issues, allergies, pain. Things that hurt just to read about.It's a beautiful autobiographical graphic memoir (MariNaomi tells me this is the preferred terminology for non fiction comics) told in shorter vignettes about true helplessness, illness and depression; striving to find solace in simplicity, in religion, in acceptance, in self-imposed rules; change and recurrent themes in life."I guess I just need to act as if I'm going to survive." p.75"Maisie… don't forget -- whatever happens -- my whole heart loves your whole heart…" to his cat. p. 78
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  • Sean
    July 31, 2015
    John Porcellino writes the long-running comic zine King Cat and has published numerous book-length collections and graphic novels. In his past stories he has often alluded to the various physical and mental health issues he's struggled with since the late 1990s. This book chronicles these issues in three parts, each of which focuses on one thread of his health history. While John's comics are almost always autobiographical to some degree, this book contains the most intimately personal work he John Porcellino writes the long-running comic zine King Cat and has published numerous book-length collections and graphic novels. In his past stories he has often alluded to the various physical and mental health issues he's struggled with since the late 1990s. This book chronicles these issues in three parts, each of which focuses on one thread of his health history. While John's comics are almost always autobiographical to some degree, this book contains the most intimately personal work he's published so far. He lays bare all the pain and torment he's experienced, and the detrimental effects it's had on his personal life. But it is not only a dark story. Through a self-styled combination of naturopathic and allopathic therapies, coupled with a steady devotion to Zen Buddhism, John has since gotten to a much healthier place. His book can now hopefully serve as an inspiration to others who are facing health issues that at times appear insurmountable. It's also a fine achievement for a cartoonist and writer now working at the peak of his creativity.
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  • Steve Lawson
    October 8, 2014
    John Porcellino is one of my few real heroes. His self-published King-Cat Comix have been a part of my life for about twenty years, and I never cease to marvel at the way John P. can create a story, a mood, a work of art with such economy.Usually, John P. focuses on how small details can open up into larger meditations on life. His work is auto-biographical, but he doesn't make a spectacle of himself. Longtime fans knew that he had health problems and a divorce in the late 1990s, but he hadn't w John Porcellino is one of my few real heroes. His self-published King-Cat Comix have been a part of my life for about twenty years, and I never cease to marvel at the way John P. can create a story, a mood, a work of art with such economy.Usually, John P. focuses on how small details can open up into larger meditations on life. His work is auto-biographical, but he doesn't make a spectacle of himself. Longtime fans knew that he had health problems and a divorce in the late 1990s, but he hadn't written about them until now.This new book has most of the familiar hallmarks of King-Cat--the pets, the humor, the self-consciousness--but in the service of a more high-stakes story, a series of serious health problems that land John in the hospital and send him from one doctor to another in a search for some of the root causes of his illness.
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  • Dar
    May 20, 2015
    Simple, elegant line drawing expressed the pain the author felt in this medical memoir. I know that personal medical issues do not always have a happy ending, but I felt the story was unsatisfying. The author turned to Western medicine only when he was desperate, and frequently undid the gains by ending treatment early and trying to get new diagnoses from natural health practitioners. I have not walked in his shoes and I'm sure he knew what made him feel best for symptom management. But I found Simple, elegant line drawing expressed the pain the author felt in this medical memoir. I know that personal medical issues do not always have a happy ending, but I felt the story was unsatisfying. The author turned to Western medicine only when he was desperate, and frequently undid the gains by ending treatment early and trying to get new diagnoses from natural health practitioners. I have not walked in his shoes and I'm sure he knew what made him feel best for symptom management. But I found it a hard read.
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  • Derek Parker
    July 21, 2016
    A series of three stories that, together, produce a moving glimpse into the multiple health issues facing John Porcellino from several years back.
  • Lena
    March 13, 2017
    Lovely & sad graphic memoir that tells what it's like to live with a mysterious illness. The myth of modern medicine is that all ailments are known and, once identified, can be treated unless you die. The narrator goes in and out of hospitals and on and off psychiatric medications because of his complicated conditions. It's tragic to see how his illnesses affect other parts of his life that I as a reader took for granted as a constant part of his character. The end is hopeful, and the reader Lovely & sad graphic memoir that tells what it's like to live with a mysterious illness. The myth of modern medicine is that all ailments are known and, once identified, can be treated unless you die. The narrator goes in and out of hospitals and on and off psychiatric medications because of his complicated conditions. It's tragic to see how his illnesses affect other parts of his life that I as a reader took for granted as a constant part of his character. The end is hopeful, and the reader is comforted that they know this wasn't published posthumously.
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  • Melanie Page
    January 1, 2015
    I've never read John Porcellino's work before. For the most part, this was not a problem. If he referred to something he'd written about before, he'd use an asterisk and write, "See King-Cat #60," or something like that. It's a smart way to get readers to check out his old work while acknowledging that other readers may not understand certain moments in The Hospital Suite.The drawing style was surprisingly bad. I always assume that comic artists want to say something in a minimalist way and are I've never read John Porcellino's work before. For the most part, this was not a problem. If he referred to something he'd written about before, he'd use an asterisk and write, "See King-Cat #60," or something like that. It's a smart way to get readers to check out his old work while acknowledging that other readers may not understand certain moments in The Hospital Suite.The drawing style was surprisingly bad. I always assume that comic artists want to say something in a minimalist way and are interesting in art. Porcellino's drawing style is more akin to an elementary school-aged child's drawings, but he's good at storytelling. In that sense (and in another that he mentions) he is like Harvey Pekar, though Pekar always had artists interpret/draw his work for him. While the story is not lost, it's hard to enjoy the visuals in this comic.The naming in The Hospital Suite was rather frustrating. His wife's name is Kera, but he calls her "Grove" sometimes. His name is John, but she calls him "Beebs." He has a cat named Maisie that he calls Kukoc. At first I thought he had two cats; it's just the one. Why all this extra naming, I don't know. I think one thing a good writer does is know when to leave out details that confuse the reader and don't add to the story. Porcellino could have worked more on that.An aspect of the story that could have larger implications is Porcellino's treatment of hospitals/doctors vs. homeopathic/cure-yourself-through-food types. Doctors equal tests and machines and taking things step-by-step, which makes Porcellino impatient, nervous, and scared. When he finds a book that suggests he can cure everything wrong with him by eating zinc, or kale, or whatever, he jumps right on it. At times, I wasn't surprised that doctors had a hard time diagnosing him; he was loading up on homeopathic remedies, too. The result of the emphasis on health demonstrates that Porcellino is saying something about healthcare--though he may not be sure what--and his anxiety, depression, and OCD prevent him from fully trusting medical staff.The thing Porcellino was best at was conveying emotion. He recites phrases from zen texts to calm himself. He worries that he's going to die, but becomes okay with death. He explores the depression he experienced as a teen and into adulthood, then the OCD and links and feedback loops from which he cannot escape. The drawings don't help convey this. If he wanted to build intensity, the frames should have gotten closer to indicate we're speeding up and piling things onto one another. However, he sticks with his regular old frames and bad drawings. The words, though, convey panic. This means that the words slowly fill more and more of each frame, the drawings becoming less important. Really, Porcellino is teetering between wanting to be a comic artist a storyteller, which his book suggests he doesn't seem to have figured out just yet.
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  • Matt Graupman
    May 10, 2015
    Let's just get this out of the way: "The Hospital Suite" is a comics masterpiece, destined to join the pantheon of Greatest Ever graphic novels alongside "Blankets" and "Maus" and "Bone." After nearly thirty years of creating comics, John Porcellino has crafted his best work yet. It's funny, heartbreaking, honest, and, ultimately, uplifting."The Hospital Suite" is a series of three loosely connected stories chronicling Porcellino's long struggle with complex health issues, both physical (hyperse Let's just get this out of the way: "The Hospital Suite" is a comics masterpiece, destined to join the pantheon of Greatest Ever graphic novels alongside "Blankets" and "Maus" and "Bone." After nearly thirty years of creating comics, John Porcellino has crafted his best work yet. It's funny, heartbreaking, honest, and, ultimately, uplifting."The Hospital Suite" is a series of three loosely connected stories chronicling Porcellino's long struggle with complex health issues, both physical (hypersensitive hearing, an intestinal tumor) and mental (severe depression, advanced OCD). It's a harrowing account but what struck me most about the book was how, in the face of extreme pain, uncertainty, and even death, Porcellino handles it all with enviable grace; as his health and relationships collapse, he radiates a calm acceptance that was incredibly moving. I'd like to think that under similar circumstances I'd have the same serene disposition but, honestly, I doubt I could rise to his level. This is also the best drawing Porcellino has ever done; decades of honing his minimalist style in "King-Cat Comics" has given his panels an effortless-looking simplicity and a gentle flow. I can't say enough good things about this book."The Hospital Suite" is a tremendous achievement, turning pain into a truly remarkable piece of art. The literary world (not just the medium of comics) needs more voices like Porcellino's: raw, eloquent, and hopeful. Some people believe that suffering reveals a person's true nature and, if that's true, Porcellino is a unique and beautiful soul, guiding others towards peace with his incredible comics.
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  • Keegan
    July 30, 2015
    Hosptial Suite, John Porcellino's collection of autobiographic comics dealing with his health, is what Sylvia Plath and Vincent Van Gogh's child might have drawn had he grown up in the mid-20th Century Illinois and listened to punk.Deeply personal, I now feel like I know Porcellino like I now my closest friends and family. Actually, I got to meet Porcellino at last year's CAKE festival when he did a reading at Quimby's Book Store. I had poked through Hosptial Suite, but hadn't given it close att Hosptial Suite, John Porcellino's collection of autobiographic comics dealing with his health, is what Sylvia Plath and Vincent Van Gogh's child might have drawn had he grown up in the mid-20th Century Illinois and listened to punk.Deeply personal, I now feel like I know Porcellino like I now my closest friends and family. Actually, I got to meet Porcellino at last year's CAKE festival when he did a reading at Quimby's Book Store. I had poked through Hosptial Suite, but hadn't given it close attention. When I finished, I remember having shook his hand, which, having read the book more thoroughly now, I realize was a really big accomplishment for him and rather poignant considering the last page of the book. Actually, I interviewed Porcellino regarding his feelings on punk and comics before reading this and I never would have imagined his autobiographic work would go into such detail about the difficult struggles he has faced with crippling OCD, anxiety and depression. He was remarkably affable, at least in email form. Maybe that is a testament to his control over his disorders.Regardless, the book is amazing. The minimalist art is stark and lends to the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Procellino's text is crisp and straightforward, like a Hemingway novel. Allie Brosh has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for Hyberbole and a Half, her own exploration of some difficult moments in her life, and Porcellino's work would sit nicely on the shelf nearby.
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  • Sandy
    November 4, 2014
    I read this in one day. Loved it. This is a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here i I read this in one day. Loved it. This is a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here including self-harm, thoughts of suicide, OCD symptoms, and food issues, which some readers will no doubt want to avoid or approach with caution.I loved the no-nonsense honesty of this book. Porcellino doesn't have a lot of regard for his doctors, who misdiagnose him and don't show him much compassion. He furthers his studies with Buddhism and finds comfort in koans. Especially stark for me were panels depicting experiences of pain and mental illness, successfully using simple line drawings to show tension and pain. What I continually admire from graphic memoirists is their ability to be so forthright about their experiences. Body, mind, soul, relationships are laid out on the page for all to see. I wonder if the simple cartoon format works as a distancing mechanism for the author. Highly recommended.
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  • Stephanie (aka WW)
    February 7, 2017
    Damn, OCD is a bitch. I never understood just how bad it was. I know depression. We've been introduced, thank you very much. But, OCD...I thought it was just a lot of hand-washing. It's so much more. John Porcellino somehow made me experience OCD through simple line drawings. John's been through hell and lived to tell the tale. He's had more than just OCD. He's had severe, unexplained medical issues, a hearing issue (normal sounds are too loud), depression, you name it. And he keeps drawing thro Damn, OCD is a bitch. I never understood just how bad it was. I know depression. We've been introduced, thank you very much. But, OCD...I thought it was just a lot of hand-washing. It's so much more. John Porcellino somehow made me experience OCD through simple line drawings. John's been through hell and lived to tell the tale. He's had more than just OCD. He's had severe, unexplained medical issues, a hearing issue (normal sounds are too loud), depression, you name it. And he keeps drawing through it all. Amazing.
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  • Raina
    July 17, 2014
    Several different pieces about the author's experiences with bodily dysfunction. While totally educational (for someone who hasn't had a lot of medical treatment), the constant physical pain was rather overwhelming (which, don't get me wrong, I totally get was probably how it felt to live these stories). I found myself reflecting on how Porcellino works at all - I think I would have appreciated a little more context to his life. Was he ill from childhood? Or was all of this sudden? I feel like t Several different pieces about the author's experiences with bodily dysfunction. While totally educational (for someone who hasn't had a lot of medical treatment), the constant physical pain was rather overwhelming (which, don't get me wrong, I totally get was probably how it felt to live these stories). I found myself reflecting on how Porcellino works at all - I think I would have appreciated a little more context to his life. Was he ill from childhood? Or was all of this sudden? I feel like the experience would feel different depending on your personal norm.His line drawings feel very much like something straight from the brain onto the page, like they could come from a sketchbook. I wonder if my experience of this would be different if I'd read something else that he'd written. I feel like there's an assumption that one is familiar with his work.I think my favorite part was the selection of Anxiety Comics at the end, where he shows what it's like to live with anxiety problems from the inside.
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  • Mark Schlatter
    January 26, 2015
    I'm a big fan of Porcellino's minimalism and his lyrical takes on nature and being. This volume has less of the emphasis on nature and more of a focus on his health issues, including several discussions of his OCD and anxiety. My wife compared it to Ellen Forney's Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me, but where Forney attempts to put her bipolar issues into the wider context of creativity, Porcellino makes his journey almost entirely internal. It's a sometime frightening trip (with ma I'm a big fan of Porcellino's minimalism and his lyrical takes on nature and being. This volume has less of the emphasis on nature and more of a focus on his health issues, including several discussions of his OCD and anxiety. My wife compared it to Ellen Forney's Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me, but where Forney attempts to put her bipolar issues into the wider context of creativity, Porcellino makes his journey almost entirely internal. It's a sometime frightening trip (with many attempts at different cures), but still with the lightness of tone that Porcellino excels at.
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  • Akeiisa
    December 20, 2014
    Porcellino depicts a period of turmoil in his life. In the first piece he's sick, the doctors can't figure out what's wrong, and he ends up having surgery. As he recovers and moves from Denver to Chicago, his marriage falls apart. In the last piece, he dives into his mental health problems - generalized anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive tendencies. This latter piece is the strongest. Porcellino does a great job of relaying his experiences as a person with a mental illness. He describ Porcellino depicts a period of turmoil in his life. In the first piece he's sick, the doctors can't figure out what's wrong, and he ends up having surgery. As he recovers and moves from Denver to Chicago, his marriage falls apart. In the last piece, he dives into his mental health problems - generalized anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive tendencies. This latter piece is the strongest. Porcellino does a great job of relaying his experiences as a person with a mental illness. He describes the frustration of knowing he's not well, the inability to stop his compulsive behavior, and his repeated searches to get better through a variety of means - dietary, naturopathic, talk therapy, exposure response prevention therapy, and medication. The artwork is simple and the storytelling is straightforward. Overall, a compelling memoir. 3.5 out 5
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  • Emilia P
    March 18, 2014
    Oh JP. You're the man. In this volume, Porcellino gets a bit deeper into the stories behind his stories, his mystery and misery in physical illness and in OCD. He's so good at expressing his fragility without ....being angsty about it? No, he's still angsty, but it feels like he's holding back and baring his soul at once, and for me there's a glorious tension about it. And the way he draws! So light and (deliberately?)amateurish, but at the same time, so clean and such a sense of how he's using Oh JP. You're the man. In this volume, Porcellino gets a bit deeper into the stories behind his stories, his mystery and misery in physical illness and in OCD. He's so good at expressing his fragility without ....being angsty about it? No, he's still angsty, but it feels like he's holding back and baring his soul at once, and for me there's a glorious tension about it. And the way he draws! So light and (deliberately?)amateurish, but at the same time, so clean and such a sense of how he's using all the empty space to make things feel a certain way -- it feels so subconscious, so natural, but also... I guess I just feel like he's a glorious paradox and this is a great example of that. I hope someday he'll pour his whole soul out into one book, but if this is as close as we ever get, that's ok. Also, there are some sweet cats in this one. :)
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  • Jeff
    November 19, 2016
    This is really something. Porcellino's deceptively simple drawings belie a deep mind at work here, as he takes the reader through a several-year-odyssey of ill-health, both mental and physical. While I hate to use this word for its Hallmark-ian implications, his tale is ultimately an inspirational one, as his commitment to his craft combined with a religious faith that can best be described as fear of the Old Testament God combined with a Buddhist outlook anchored in meditation pulls him through This is really something. Porcellino's deceptively simple drawings belie a deep mind at work here, as he takes the reader through a several-year-odyssey of ill-health, both mental and physical. While I hate to use this word for its Hallmark-ian implications, his tale is ultimately an inspirational one, as his commitment to his craft combined with a religious faith that can best be described as fear of the Old Testament God combined with a Buddhist outlook anchored in meditation pulls him through some truly Job-like suffering. Another reminder that, whether you prefer "comic" or "graphic novel," great literature is ultimately what we are working with here.
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  • Grace
    January 8, 2015
    I enjoyed the experience of reading this graphic novel, but didn't take much away from it. It's the story of Porcellino's struggles with an amorphous and debilitating medical condition alongside mental health issues, including anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It's not the best or most illuminating graphic novel treatment of mental illness that I've read (ie, Alison Bechdel's graphic novels, Marbles by Ellen Forney) - perhaps those who are familiar with his earlier work would find it mo I enjoyed the experience of reading this graphic novel, but didn't take much away from it. It's the story of Porcellino's struggles with an amorphous and debilitating medical condition alongside mental health issues, including anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It's not the best or most illuminating graphic novel treatment of mental illness that I've read (ie, Alison Bechdel's graphic novels, Marbles by Ellen Forney) - perhaps those who are familiar with his earlier work would find it more meaningful. Still, there doesn't have to be one definitive graphic novel on illness, and The Hospital Suite might resonate more with another reader.
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  • Joshua Permaul
    February 2, 2015
    This is a story of a man who is tragically loosing everything. Whether it be his relationships or mental/physical prowess, John Porcellino has effectively been robbed of an easy life. Not to say any life is easy, but I feel for John, in this book he tells us his personal life explicitly, no holding back. It makes some of the moments quite comical. One of his dreams had me laughing hysterically. All and all this book is a GoodRead. I picked it up on a wim without looking it up (which I normally d This is a story of a man who is tragically loosing everything. Whether it be his relationships or mental/physical prowess, John Porcellino has effectively been robbed of an easy life. Not to say any life is easy, but I feel for John, in this book he tells us his personal life explicitly, no holding back. It makes some of the moments quite comical. One of his dreams had me laughing hysterically. All and all this book is a GoodRead. I picked it up on a wim without looking it up (which I normally don't do) & thoroughly enjoyed it. Im gonna make a habit of this.
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  • Debra Daniels-zeller
    April 4, 2016
    While this book was interesting, sad, shocking, and sometimes funny, when it was all over I felt a bit like a voyuer. We don't talk about feeling bad in this culture and we often have a hard time dealing with it. Drawing it is an interesting way to let people in on that world. Maybe it's an interesting way to deal with sadness. For my first graphic novel, this was a good read. I picked it up on a whim when I passed through the graphic novel section at the library. I'd do it again for a different While this book was interesting, sad, shocking, and sometimes funny, when it was all over I felt a bit like a voyuer. We don't talk about feeling bad in this culture and we often have a hard time dealing with it. Drawing it is an interesting way to let people in on that world. Maybe it's an interesting way to deal with sadness. For my first graphic novel, this was a good read. I picked it up on a whim when I passed through the graphic novel section at the library. I'd do it again for a different another intriguing graphic novel. It's hard to decide an actual star rating for this book.
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  • Ian Hrabe
    January 7, 2015
    The Hospital Suite is a harrowing look into one man's decade-spanning health problems. The ailments covered are both physiological (intestinal tumor, bizarre hearing disorder, lizard skin) and psychological (John P's depiction of OCD are the most heartbreaking rendition of the disorder that I've ever seen) and as usual Mr. Porcellino manages to convey volumes with his sparse, quiet comics. It's his best offering to date and I am forever thankful for the glimpses into this man's beautiful, genero The Hospital Suite is a harrowing look into one man's decade-spanning health problems. The ailments covered are both physiological (intestinal tumor, bizarre hearing disorder, lizard skin) and psychological (John P's depiction of OCD are the most heartbreaking rendition of the disorder that I've ever seen) and as usual Mr. Porcellino manages to convey volumes with his sparse, quiet comics. It's his best offering to date and I am forever thankful for the glimpses into this man's beautiful, generous soul.
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  • Brantz Woolsey
    September 16, 2014
    I met John this last weekend at SPX, watched the documentary Root Hog Or Die which is about him and bought this book and a few issues of King Cat. This book touched me and compelled me emotionally all the way through. I have felt emotionally distressed (not on the same scale) and I could relate to his feelings as he struggled with that. I love how he used simple art to illustrate his feelings in an almost whimsical. I would recommend this book to many of my friends. I know some would not appreci I met John this last weekend at SPX, watched the documentary Root Hog Or Die which is about him and bought this book and a few issues of King Cat. This book touched me and compelled me emotionally all the way through. I have felt emotionally distressed (not on the same scale) and I could relate to his feelings as he struggled with that. I love how he used simple art to illustrate his feelings in an almost whimsical. I would recommend this book to many of my friends. I know some would not appreciate it like I do, but I thought it was beautiful.
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  • Robin
    October 14, 2014
    It doesn't take many pen strokes for Porcellino to pack an emotional punch in his graphic memoir about various hospital treatments, anxiety and depression he's lived through. It's an intense read. Personally, his visual style doesn't appeal to me, and I wish there had been more comic relief in the book. That said, I could see this memoir resonating strongly for a lot of people coping with physical and mental health concerns.
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  • Craig
    January 20, 2015
    This book is a fairly raw/unfiltered look into the life of a guy dealing with illness. It shows the impacts on his life, both mentally and physically.The graphics are fairly simple and non-complex; but they are enough to tell the story. Though most of the information is really shared by the words rather than the images.His time was difficult, uptrends were invariably followed by down-swings. This made it a "downer" of a read.
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  • Joshua
    July 13, 2015
    A cartoon looking into the authors struggles with both bodily and mental illness over the years and its effects on his life. Its a candid overview sparing no detail. Its well written, but it didn't always resonate with me (no fault of the comic itself). The art work is very basic. Overall it's definitely an interesting look into the struggle of mental health and a person just wanting to be better.
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  • Norb Aikin
    February 2, 2017
    Barebones animation, and occasional lulls in pace, but otherwise an easy read about the complexities physical health can wreak on your mental health. Glad I checked it out; the more you know from what others experience, the better off you are (most of the time).
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