Date Completed: 9/29/2016
What a beautiful yet traumatic story. Spot 12 is a graphic memoir following the story of the birth of Jenny’s daughter, Asa. Asa was born with a condition that meant she ended up spending the first five months of her life in the NICU, the ICU for premature babies and babies that need special care. Jaeckel’s telling is honest and raw, and she spares no emotion when inviting readers into her world.
I loved that all the characters were drawn as animals. I loved that Jaeckel named the nurses after characteristics of their personalities. I loved how wordy this graphic memoir was, although I normally shy away from graphic novels that have lengthy paragraphs for nearly every graphic. This story needed the explanation and detail that could only be provided through the written word, but the accompanying pictures were very moving emotionally.
One scene that particularly spoke to me in which I was stunned by the drawing was a simple one. Jaeckel and the nurses were talking about all the equipment she would need to have to properly care for Asa, and Jaeckel had drawn a large picture of a lot of equipment all lined up next to and on top of each other. The sheer quantity of the equipment was shocking to me, even though I know that’s not even the true size of all that they needed. For this scene and others, I found that the graphic memoir style suited Jaeckel’s story well.
About Jenny Jaeckel
Jenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator (Spanish) and teaches illustration. She lives in Victoria, Vancouver Island in British Columbia with her husband and daughter.
Jaeckel is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which won a 2008 Xeric Grant (printed in Canada, to be released in the US in 2016 in both English and Spanish), Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob (published in 2014), and Odd Pieces: Memoir of a Childhood (to be published in 2017). For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is her first collected fiction (2016).
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from TLC Book Tours.