“that’s the problem with flirting with the idea of something, sometimes you fall in”
― Zoe Thorogood, It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth
Zoe Thorogood’s 2022 graphic novel, It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth, destroyed me. It was messy and confusing and utterly desperate for help. Basically, it was perfect and fit what Zoe wrote it to be: an auto-bio-graphic-novel about her life as it falls apart.
Over a six month period, Zoe Thorogood tries to put her life back together even when the universe, and her own mind, conspires to destroy her. Zoe doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she wants to create. She must create something in order to survive.
This isn’t a light read. It’s destructive and heavy. Zoe writes about her depression and suicidal ideation, alongside other negative emotions. Her art is sharp and cuts you to the quick as she introduces readers to her other selves (animal-like and people-like). Zoe pulls in the people that she interacted with during those six months and how they impact her story and journey of survival. Her story takes place during the isolation of the pandemic, which in turn informs even more of her decisions. This graphic novel/memoir hit me right in the chest. Zoe is incredibly honest about her depression. She isn’t afraid to share how it affects her life and, in turn, her relationships with others. While her words pick you apart, the artwork isn’t idle, instead it intrigues you and pulls you in. She uses different drawing styles and colors depending on what the focus is. It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth may be messy, but it’s a relatable mess that I’m glad I stumbled on.