Ink in Water
An Illustrated Memoir (Or, How I Kicked Anorexia’s Ass and Embraced Body Positivity)
Published by: New Harbinger Publications
Imprint: New Harbinger Publications
“An incredibly important, extremely relatable memoir about learning to love the hardest person of all: yourself.”
—Liz Prince, author of Tomboy
"Compelling, funny, occasionally heartbreaking, and full of genuine hope in ways that most graphic memoirs never achieve artistically. ... Don’t miss this one."
—Library Journal Starred Review
At once punk rock and poignant, Ink in Water is the visceral and groundbreaking graphic memoir of a young woman’s devastating struggle with negative body image and eating disorders, and how she rose above her own destructive behaviors and feelings of inadequacy to live a life of strength and empowerment.
As a young artist living in Portland, Lacy Davis’s eating disorder began with the germ of an idea: a seed of a thought that told her she just wasn’t good enough. And like ink in water, that idea spread until it reached every corner of her being. This is the true story of Lacy’s journey into the self-destructive world of multiple eating disorders. It starts with a young and positive Lacy, trying to grapple with our culture’s body-image obsession and stay true to her riot grrrl roots. And while she initially succeeds in overcoming a nagging rumination about her body, a breakup with a recovering addict starts her on a collision course with anorexia, health food obsession, and compulsive exercise addiction. At the request of her last real friend, she starts going to a twelve-step Overeaters Anonymous course, only to find that it conflicts with her punk feminist ideology.
Blending bold humor, a healthy dose of self-deprecation, vulnerability, literary storytelling, and dynamic and provocative artwork by illustrator Jim Kettner, Ink in Water is an unflinching, brutally honest look into the author’s mind: how she learned to take control of her damaging thoughts, redirect her perfectionism from self-destructive behaviors into writing and art, and how she committed herself to a life of health, strength, and nourishment.
"Young punk artist Davis experiences minor thoughts of dissatisfaction that gain an unfortunate hold in her psyche, eventually transforming into a full-blown eating disorder threatening to consume her. Gia, a groovy friend dealing with her own addictive struggles, refuses to allow Davis to wallow in misery, ultimately getting her in contact with the group Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Davis’s inner punk feels that OA is a betrayal of her basic operating principles. She doesn’t like the idea of surrendering herself to conventional spiritual forces, but she forges ahead with the group, incorporating her own DIY twists. After a while, she begins to stabilize and develops an incredible new relationship, but every step toward regaining normalcy creates prime situations for the doubts of addiction to haunt her. Both Davis’s story and the fantastic illustrations from Kettner (podcaster, Adult Crash) are compelling, funny, occasionally heartbreaking, and full of genuine hope in ways that most graphic memoirs never achieve artistically. Verdict: A beautifully realized biographical comic that tackles a tough subject head-on while offering no easy answers or stultifying platitudes. With aplomb, this work gives voice to humane, body-positive sincerity, capturing a condition that affects many. Don’t miss this one."
—Library Journal Starred Review
“In Ink in Water, Lacy Davis and Jim Kettner tell a cautionary tale of how little armor punk-feminist politics provide against a self-destroying eating disorder...when those politics are not underpinned by truly knowing one’s own strength. For Lacy, it took a long, dark passage through feeling completely powerless—over herself and over her disease—and then, with the help of two crucial relationships, finding her own power deep inside to make her way out again. Kettner’s fluid, expressive, energetic artwork is a perfect vehicle for this journey: he draws Lacy’s pain—and her power—into every line in the book.”
—Jessica Abel, author of Growing Gills, Out on the Wire, La Perdida, Trish Trash, and coauthor of Drawing Words and Writing Pictures
“Ink in Water is the candid and harrowing story of how young punk-feminist Lacy Davis won her life back from the jaws of an eating disorder. Artist Jim Kettner imbues each page with rich graytones, beautiful compositions, and characters so vivid, you could swear they were breathing. I recommend this to anyone with a body. It is a brave, beautiful, and important book.”
—Nicole J. Georges, author of the graphic novels Calling Dr. Laura and Fetch
“Lacy Davis’s candid writing style pulls you right into her personal journey. Kettner uses the comics medium beautifully to amplify Davis’s powerful story. Davis and Kettner don’t sugarcoat the serious effects of the eating disorder, yet manage to make the story very enjoyable to read. I read the entire book in one sitting. Ink in Water would give hope to anyone who is struggling with his or her inner demon.”
—Robin Ha, author and illustrator for the New York Times bestseller, Cook Korean!
“Lacy Davis and Jim Kettner are newcomers to the graphic novel scene, but Ink in Water will definitely make them a household name. An incredibly important, extremely relatable memoir about learning to love the hardest person of all: yourself.”
—Liz Prince, author of Tomboy, Alone Forever, and Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed
“Propelled by Davis’s sassy, confident voice and Kettner’s energetic art, Ink in Water is a brave comic memoir of self-help and recovery. An uplifting true story, Ink in Water takes the reader through Davis’s harrowing struggle with eating disorders and out the other side to where ‘hope spreads too.’ Ink in Water is about many things:punk rock mixtapes, vegan milkshakes, locked doors, 12-step meetings, and ‘putting your faith in something that doesn’t totally make sense.’ And it’s an adorable love story, told by an extraordinary husband-and-wife creative team.”
—Josh Neufeld, writer/artist of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge