Psychiatric Tales is a graphic novel about the experiences that a mental health nurse had while he worked in a psychiatric ward. The book is divided into eleven sections, each with its own topic regarding mental illness. I am very interested in the topic of mental illness and have previously taken two courses on abnormal psychology in college and have done other reading on the topic. That being said, this book didn’t tell me any new information, except for the few unique cases that the author personally experienced.

This book is intended to be “stories about mental illness,” but in reading it, it seems much more like textbook information on each mental illness with a few short mentions of personal cases. The information is all relevant and could be useful to people just starting to learn about mental illness, or ones who need to learn to be more sympathetic towards people who have these illnesses, but to those who are seeking this book out because they want to hear more about the topic and have been interested beforehand, it is probably just previously-learned information.

I didn’t think this book needed to be in graphic novel form, as many of the images didn’t add anything to the text, and the text was basically just at the top of each box with the illustration underneath. It does make the book a very quick read, very easily done in one sitting. The drawing style is one seen in other graphic novels, such as Persepolis (which is even mentioned by the author as an inspiration for this book), but I felt that it wasn’t executed as well as Persepolis and others like it were.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad graphic novel, but it didn’t capture me in any way. If you are looking to find out basic information on mental illnesses, this would be a good resource to start with, but if you already have a good grasp on the subject, there won’t be much (if any) new information here.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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2 thoughts on “Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham

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