Review: Spinning by Tillie Waldon

For twelve years, Tillie Waldon was a competitive ice skater. Rising before dawn, she would practice each day, before going to school and then returning for more practice afterward. She entered many competitions. Then, eventually, she realised that she was more interested in art and illustration. Spinning is her first graphic novel and is an autobiographical account of her time as a competitive ice skater and why she chose to leave.

I've enjoyed a number of autobiographies told in graphic novel format recently, and while Spinning is no exception, this one felt a little sadder than most. It's difficult to read about someone who works so hard and so diligently at something that makes her unhappy. Unlike a lot of kids in her situation, Tillie was not the product of stage parents, in fact, as soon as she was old enough she went to practice without her parents and they barely seemed interested in her pursuits.

There are also a lot of other things that happen within this coming of age tale, from first loves to school bullying to sexual assualt to coming out. This is very much a tale of self-acceptance, and self-awareness though it takes the author a while to come to that understanding.

Tille Walden was born in 1996. It was a first for me, seeing references to a kid getting their first smart phone and other technologies that can sometimes still seem very new and modern to a reader who was born fifteen years earlier. I guess that's testimony to how the world has changed.



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