Review: Mis(h)adra

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I’ve been getting into graphic novels of late(my review of Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA is forthcoming), but I came across this one by chance. I wasn’t entirely sure of the premise, but I dove in and finished it in just about one sitting. Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata, was an unexpectedly intimate story of an Arab-American college student, Isaac, who struggles with managing his epilepsy, classes, and social life. He doesn’t seem like he is able to make any headway and is about to virtually give up when a friend, Jo, does her best to support him and keep him accountable for continuing, even when he feels like he doesn’t have anything left.

 

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Isaac during one of his seizures.

 

I thought this story was deeply personal not only for the author but for me as well. I watched my own mother struggle with MS until her eventual passing. (The two year anniversary is later this month). The struggle of chronic conditions, especially of depression and more “unseen” conditions is something that always burdened my mom and it burdens Isaac as well as he struggles to make his case to his doctors. I was taken aback by the ending, but I want readers to make their own conclusions about it.

 

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Isaac being not-listened to by his doctor.

 

I had no idea what the word “mishadra” meant, but it looks like Ata meant it to mean two different things that I was able to find after I read it. This really deepens the work for me and the impact of this story overall is awesome.

misadra – arabic word for seizure

mishadra – arabic slang for “i can’t”

(Thanks to Goodreads user paulie for pulling these definitions out.)

Overall, I highly recommend this graphic novel and I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything else Ata comes out with in the future. Let me know if this story means anything to you in the comments as well! I’d love to talk about this further.

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