Mindy has her own apartment, a cat, a job, friends, and guys around her who seem interested in getting to know her better—and yet, there’s something wrong. She feels directionless in life and unwilling to follow up on any possible romance. When she steps on her bathroom scale, which she does frequently, she doesn’t like what she sees. She’s unhappy when she looks in the mirror, or when she thinks about how her body looks. At the grocery store one night, on a whim, she picks up a chocolate bar from a small local company called “Eat, and Love Yourself” that promises it will change her life.

The comic Eat, and Love Yourself addresses serious issues like body image and eating disorders, and so the book and this review need content warnings, as some may feel personally affected by the details or depictions they contain. Although the comic is not very graphic in its depiction, at different points in her life Mindy very clearly suffers from both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, as well as other forms of disordered eating. She also experiences persistent self loathing and is shown encountering some verbal abuse from her parents. 

When readers first meet Mindy, she is already suffering from eating disorders and most likely depression, and has been for most of her life. Deep down, she also believes her problems are her own fault. When she tries the first square of the mysterious chocolate bar, however, something strange happens: she is somehow transported back to her childhood, and watches one of her own memories play out before her. She can even see herself in the memory, though she can’t interact in any way. Through the course of the story, Mindy consumes the chocolate bar one square at a time, and with each bite she witnesses another moment of her past. Together, these moments tell a story of various negative experiences with parents, friends, authority figures, and peers, and the ways in which a young Mindy responded to these challenges.

Through these memories, Mindy gains more insight into herself and her relationship to eating. The experiences begin to affect her current life; as she fights with her best friend, visits and confronts her parents, and reconnects with an old crush. With the last square of chocolate, Mindy finally finds some peace, addressing her younger self with love and kindness.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but found it a bit simple in its exploration of the themes and a bit lacking in emotional impact. Mindy does not spend much time unpacking any of the memories/flashbacks she experiences, and it seems like only a surface level delve into her emotions and mental health. Readers also spend very little time getting to know any other characters in the book, so they come off as somewhat underdeveloped. As a fat woman who has also struggled with body image in my life, I thought this book would feel more personal than it did. I also wasn’t sure the ending felt fully earned to me; it came off as too easy and too quick.

The art in the book was generally well done, and Mindy was actually drawn as fat, which I appreciated. Colors were vibrant and set the scene well. Every so often, I was a little confused by a sequence of wordless panels and what they were trying to convey, but on the whole, the art does a good job of telling the story and suggesting things without being too explicit about the more difficult topics.

Eat, and Love Yourself reminded me in ways of the recent Hulu original series Shrill, and fans of that show might enjoy this comic as well. Those who have struggled with eating disorders, body image, or a complex relationship with food might find something to appreciate here as well. Although I personally found it lacking in certain areas, the book still has value and will likely resonate for many people who can relate to Mindy. Due to the issues it addresses, and as Mindy and her friends are likely meant to be in their early 20s, the book is most appropriate for older teens or adults. 

Eat, and Love Yourself
By Sweeney Boo
Art by Sweeney Boo, Joana Lafuente
ISBN: 9781684155064
Boom! Box, 2020
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult
Creator Highlights: Canadian, French
  • Sharona Ginsberg

    Past Reviewer

    Sharona Ginsberg is the Head of the Terrapin Learning Commons at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work fits where technology and learning intersect, and she is especially interested in makerspaces and creating. She is also interested in issues of equity and social justice, serving LGBTQ patrons, and her dog, Bilbo Waggins.

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