Friday 3 February 2012

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Review: Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield

Tyranny by Lesley FairfieldTyranny by Lesley Fairfield (review copy) - "Do I know you?" "You've always known me, silly... I'm Tyranny, your other self. I keep you thin." One day, horrified by her reflection in the mirror, Anna makes a life-changing decision – that food is the enemy. Her obsession with being thin and beautiful will now dominate her every waking and sleeping hour. Should she falter or show any signs of weakness, Tyranny, her inner voice of "reason" will be only too willing to push her back into line. Years later, when Anna finally finds the strength to defeat her personal demon, it will be a matter of life and death. From Amazon UK

I first heard about this book when I held Body Image and Self-Perfection Month two years ago, when another blogger taking part reviewed it. I was intrigued as to how a graphic novel would deal with such a serious subject, and now I've read it, I'm in two minds.

I think Tyranny is a great way to get your first glimpse of what living with anorexia is like, as it covers years of Anna's life and how it effected her. It's a great way to get the discussion going or at least think about it as an individual, but being a graphic novel, there isn't much opportunity really get into the emotional side of things that comes along with the narrative of a novel. However, Tyranny gets as close as I think a graphic novel can, covering the self-loathing and how those with anorexia see themselves completely differently to what's real. It doesn't shy away from the seriousness of the illness, or how badly things can go. I covers the whole journey right from the very first diet to recovery and becoming well again, and everything inbetween.

However, I do think it isn't as shocking or as scary as it can be on the subject. Maybe it's me; I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels, or maybe it's the length, I read it in about 10-15 minutes, but I found myself detached from the story. It wasn't as hard hitting as I think a story about such things should be.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the style, the language was very simple and almost childlike, and I found the character of Tyranny to be annoying and pretty silly, rather than freaky. I still say it's a pretty good introduction into the fiction side of things to do with this subject, and well worth a read.

Thank you to Walker for the review copy.

Published: 7th February 2011
Publisher: Walker
Lesle Fairfield's Website


  1. This sounded really interesting until I read "graphic novel." Honestly - I think graphic novels are great for some, they just don't work for me. But the idea behind this is great. I'm glad that they were willing to delve into such a serious subject. Good review.

    1. Thank you! :) Yeah, I'm not the biggest graphic novel fan, but I don't want to write them all off just yet. It was good to see the subject tackled in this form, but I do think novels do a better job generally.

  2. I definitely agree with what you said about their being some distance emotionally with this book. I think that was the intention actually. But it doesn't quite work for some people - like you and me!

    1. Intentional? That seems so odd. Sure, the effects of anorexia are shocking, but it shocks even more when you're emotionally involved. At least for me. I need to be involved.