illus. by Iasmin Omar Ata. 272p. S. & S./Gallery 13. Oct. 2017. Tr $25. ISBN 9781501162107.
RedReviewStarThe title of Ata's semiautobiographical graphic novel, a mash-up of the Arabic words misadra (or "seizure") and mish adra ("I cannot") is fitting. The story follows Isaac, a college student who feels obstructed at every turn by his epilepsy. Condescending doctors, an unsympathetic father, failing grades, and inconsiderate neighbors (whose loud parties interfere with his sleep and trigger more seizures) only compound his problems. Afraid of being a burden, Isaac keeps most of his fellow students at arm's length, but after losing an eye during a seizure, he meets Jo, who pushes him to open up. Ata skillfully conveys Isaac's solitary anguish at coping with a body that betrays him. The protagonist's expressive inner monologues contrast with his terse conversations with other students, in which he attempts to deflect attention from himself. The color scheme is appropriately discordant, and the manga-style images are haunting, frenetic, and beautiful. Even the placement of the panels at times is chaotic, and during Isaac's seizures, beadlike ropes and daggers with eyes menace him.
VERDICT Ata expertly depicts the experience of living with chronic illness. Readers of intimate examinations of physical or emotional conditions, such as Katie Green's Lighter Than My Shadow, will appreciate this unforgettable title.

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