Spot 12 ~ Kirkus Review

Spot 12 is reviewed on a major book review website, Kirkus Reviews. The review is very positive and I’m so pleased. Kirkus Reviews decided to include the review in their print magazine as well, which is a great honor. Thanks Kirkus! Read it on their website: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jenny-jaeckel/spot-12/

Or down below. I’m going to try and post once a month at least until publication time (October). Stay tuned for the next installment related to Spot 12. And don’t forget to check out the website dedicated to Spot 12. It will have the most current information about the forthcoming publication.

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Spot 12 ~ Kirkus Review

Jaeckel (For the Love of Meat , 2016, etc.) catalogs her daughter’s five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this graphic memoir. When it was discovered that the author was suffering from a buildup of amniotic fluid, her doctors recommended inducing labor early. Shortly after the birth, physicians found that her daughter, Asa, suffered from tracheoesophageal fistula, a rare esophagus defect that needed to be corrected with surgery. So began a monthlong process to ensure that Asa could breathe and eat correctly and would be safe from the dangers of infection. It was touch and go, with Jaeckel and her husband, Cito, restricted in their access to Asa. Jaeckel was particularly affected by the stress of the situation.

With this memoir, told in paneled illustrations like a graphic novel, the author chronicles her experiences with doctors and nurses (of various degrees of patience and gentleness), supportive friends, her intrusive mother, and the esoteric acronyms that categorize hospital life (“Her SATS are low,” reads one speech bubble. “She had T.P.N. and now she’s still N.P.O.”). The people in the memoir are represented in the illustrations as stylized animals, reminiscent of Art Spiegelman’s seminal graphic novel, Maus . Jaeckel and her family, too, are mice, while the supporting characters are a mix of dogs, cats, deer, frogs, and other endearingly drawn creatures. The illustrations greatly soften what, as simple prose, might read as an extremely serious and upsetting account of a sick infant. The depictions of Asa as a tiny mouse with wires and tubes taped to her body are simultaneously adorable and tragic. In the book’s strongest moments, Jaeckel discusses and draws her own fraught emotional state, which leads to very striking panels of symbolic representation: tiny animals separated by immense, inky blackness, and Asa tranquilly aloft among the stars or suspended at the middle of the Tree of Life. Though hospitals, and illness in general, can often rob patients of their individuality, Jaeckel has managed to represent such a world in a unique and highly personalized way.

A memorable and beautifully executed memoir of a newborn’s difficult first months.

-Kirkus Reviews

A Year of Books – Spot 12 Gets Legs

 

Meat_Front_3_small copyFor the Love of Meat is moving ahead, with the publisher giving away copies of the advance copy and Meat to appear for preorder in the next week or so.

Meanwhile, friend and book designer extraordinaire Josué Menjivar has been laying out the new edition of Spot 12: The Story of a Birth in English and Spanish. My publisher Erika Lunder of Raincloud Press helped edit this new edition to make a more focused and a little less-dense read. That freed up some space to use a bigger font so that those of you who have mentioned my graphic novels have been hard to read will have nothing to fear! This version is bigger (8×10) and we’ve done all we can to make it better.

Spot 12 is going to be very busy this Spring and Summer, according to my publisher, it’s going to Chicago for the Book Expo, one of the largest book fairs in the world. Apparently up to 1000 copies will be given away by the publication date in October of this year. That sounds like a lot! But I am excited about the book getting out there, and I’m especially grateful to Rita Arciniega for her tireless help with the Spanish translation of Spot 12: Cunero 12.

 

If you know of an organization that might be interested in using Spot 12 in their outreach please contact my Spot_12_Cover_90publisher (raincloudpress@gmail.com). That was our hope doing the Spanish version that it would give the project legs and be a resource for more families (summary below).

 

This unique graphic memoir is about a mother whose newborn spends five months in the NICU, written and illustrated by Jenny Jaeckel. It is a moving, raw and honest look at hospital- and crisis-induced PTSD and the effect of an extended medical stay on a family. The journal Advances in Neonatal Care called it “very impressive,” and said that parents “will find comfort in how the author expresses their pain.”  Nurses, families with special needs children, social workers and anyone in the pediatric field will have something to gain from this mother’s perspective.