A collaborative graphic memoir about a Canadian woman whose rare reaction to medication—Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)—leaves her in a coma for two months and, when she wakes up, with serious disabilities. The narrative explores how Chong survives and finds her way to a vital artistic life.
There’s real resolve in Vivian Chong’s voice. Her story, deftly told in her new graphic memoir Dancing After TEN, explains her determination ... It’s a compelling, harrowing read ... The intensity, although not the method, of their [Chong and Georgia Webber's] collaboration will be familiar to comic book creators—it’s been key to the success of so many graphic novels. And their achievement underscores the message from advocates on behalf of those with disabilities—focus on what people can do, not what they can’t. This is an intensely personal book [.]
Its unusual and fascinating process of collaboration distinguishes Dancing After TEN. Webber...worked with Chong to fill in drawings and narrative, creating pages and panels that integrate and develop the sketches into a story line. Together Chong and Webber create a comics language that paradoxically communicates sightlessness through drawing ... Dancing After TEN also, sadly, feels right for this moment, in its intense focus not only on Chong’s confusing medical condition but also on her loneliness. It can be a hard read.
Her story is so horrifying that it would be easy to gawk and move on quickly. Instead, in this memoir, Chong's confident voice draws out the complicated reality of a debilitating medical condition with precision and purpose ... Chong's narrative conviction and artistic direction blended with Webber's wiry illustrations are all-enveloping, communicating her huge challenge without pathos ... A prime example of the graphic medicine genre, which illustrates medical conditions, often through lived experience, this work is engaging and informative but never feels teachy or preachy.