Tillie Walden didn't grow up wanting to be a competitive figure skater, but its reassuring routines are what's keeping her young self together until she figures out what else life has to offer. The Ignatz-Award-winning cartoonist has now turned her coming of age into one of the best graphic memoirs in years. Told in purple-hued imagery that takes in both athletic grace and the unforgiving florescence lights of the skating rink, Walden recounts the petty jealousies and occasional triumphs that kept her involved in the sport, even as she felt herself pulling away. Those expecting a straightforward "Cutting Edge"-style saga of triumph on ice might be confounded. Those looking for a real story suffused with hope and other pleasures should save a spot on the podium for "Spinning."— Charles Bottomley
Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.