Spinning is a graphic memoir that is the coming of age and coming out story of author and illustrator Tillie Walden. For twelve years Tillie would wake up before dawn to get to the ice rink, first on the Jersey shore, and then in Texas. After her figure skating lessons, Tillie would go to school and then to synchronized skating practice. In Walden’s visual narrative we see the effort, struggle and stress that accompany her athletic and social experiences.
Spinning is one of those books you may devour in one sitting if given the time (it is, after all, close to 400 pages long). While ostensibly about one girl’s experiences as a young competitive figure and synchronized skater, the story covers a much larger terrain, and will therefore appeal to many readers of both graphic novels (such as Mariko Tamaki’s ThisOne Summer), and traditional realistic fiction (works by Laurie HalseAnderson). The work also very much captures the zeitgeist of this period of stressed out teens and of increased awareness of sexual assault and harassment. Recommended. 2017.