Nicola Streeten
Also by this author

Billy, Me & You

A Memoir of Grief and Recovery
£12.99 Buy now Recommend

Highly Commended   —British Medical Association Book Award: Popular Medicine Category2012

A moving, surprisingly funny, and inspiring graphic memoir by a woman who lost her two-year-old son after heart surgery, Billy, Me & You is a bracing and memorable account of recovery after bereavement.

Nicola Streeten’s little boy, Billy, was two years old when he died following heart surgery for problems diagnosed only a few days earlier. Ten years later, Streeten revisited her diaries and notebooks made at the time: this wonderfully vibrant narrative recounts how she and her partner recovered.

Gut-wrenchingly sad at times, her graphic memoir is an unforgettable portrayal of trauma and our reaction to it – and, especially, the humour or absurdity so often involved in our responses. As Streeten’s story unfolds and we follow her and her partner’s heroic efforts to cope with well-meaning friends and day-to-day realities, we begin to understand what she means by her aim to create a ‘dead baby story that is funny’. Streeten is the first British woman to have published a graphic memoir.

Golnar Nabizadeh, The Conversation

17 May 2018
Seven comics with vital things to say about humanity: Billy Me & You. Nicola Streeten’s graphic memoir tells of the devastating loss of her two-year old son, Billy, after he underwent heart surgery. Drawn on lined paper and built from the diary she kept at the time, Billy, Me & You explores in harrowing detail Streeten’s anger, rage and despair. In one particularly memorable sequence, the British artist silently awards people marks out of ten for the reaction to Billy’s death. Sadness and bereavement mingle with the absurd and humorous, revealing how loss and recovery can shape a mother’s life.
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Julie Hesmondhalgh, Observer

17 January 2016
Several close friends of mine have lost a child, a loss that is unimaginable to me, and have then gone on to create charities to help others cope. This beautiful book, by Nicola Streeten, gave me a rare insight into something of what they went through and continue to live with every day. I’m patron of Reuben’s Retreat, a charity that provides a getaway for grieving families and a counselling service. This book is on the shelves of the library there.
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Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

7 September 2015
[This] is a memoir about losing your child, something that forces one to be vulnerable, and the artwork reflects the vulnerability. Loss is not beautiful; it is hard and terrible and mean and unforgiving, and... Streeten, when deciding the direction of her art, wanted her text to also be these things. There are moments where the art tightens when she draws a block directly addressing the readers. It is as if these more direct drawings (which lie on top of lined notebooks paper) give the reader hope of recovery, and Streeten made a wise decision by sprinkling these pages throughout her text.

Parliament of Dreams

19 April 2012
The only thing that matters is whether an artist has something worth saying and the ability to say it well. In Billy, Me & You, Nicola Streeten has both. Given its subject, the book is naturally moving, but its humour, honesty and insight are certainly not inevitable. They are the result of artistry – the alchemy of turning the lead of everyday lives into the gold of art.
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Guardian: Bryan and Mary Talbot’s top 10 graphic memoirs

18 April 2012
The death of a child has to be the worst thing imaginable that could happen to parents. It's an extraordinary subject for a graphic memoir. Streeten kept a diary after the sudden death of her two-year-old son, Billy. She has used it as the basis for her debut graphic novel, so it provides insight into surviving what for most of us hardly even bears thinking about. It is a surprise then to find it provokes laughter as well as tears. The combination of journal format and naïve artwork somehow helps to make reading about grief and loss not only bearable but entertaining.
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6 December 2011
Child bereavement may not sound like material for a comic strip, but graphic books can explore human pain with honesty and wit. A moving and often unexpectedly funny memoir.
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26 October 2011
I've read this book repeatedly since it landed through my letter box. I've cried, laughed and often found myself nodding in agreement while thinking 'that's so true'. Billy, Me & You is extraordinarily unflinching and honest as Nicola reflects on the grieving process with compassion, humour and humility. This is a novel that will resonate with anyone who has experienced the devastating loss of someone they love.
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Richard Bruton,Forbidden Planet

25 October 2011
This has a universal, empathetic appeal...To say it’s moving really undervalues Billy, Me & You. It is, of course, how could it not be, given the subject matter. But it’s so much more than that. For a start it’s a page turner, a single sitting read, a truly satisfying journey undertaken with the author. The emotional intensity comes through her art, and its openess and roughness is endearing, welcoming, personal and real. This is a hugely personal memoir that serves so many purposes... This is entertaining, original, thought provoking stuff.
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Page 45

16 October 2011
The most profoundly moving graphic novel I personally have ever read bar none. [Nicola Streeten's] clarity in explaining the sequence of events and her initial emotional turmoil is just astonishing and so very touching... there is actually also a considerable amount of humour in this section of the work, as we are frequently treated to her thoughts in response to the comments of others, which range from the truly caring to the completely unhelpful, and indeed the occasionally utterly bizarre and inane. This is probably one of the very few works out there that not only has the power to heal, but also the power to inform people how best to practically help and support someone suffering from such overwhelming emotional trauma.
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16 October 2011
Billy, Me & You comes in a plain yellow wraparound cover and, if you open it up, Nicola Streeten’s drawings are at first glance crude and unsophisticated (no borders etched out in Arabic script here). But once you start to read, you can see it’s not so much crude as raw, a red-eyed, fist-in-the-gut account of how Streeten and her partner (and their friends and family) dealt with – or didn’t – the death of their two-year-old son Billy after heart surgery. What’s most remarkable is that it will make you laugh. And then there are moments that will tear your heart open.
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15 October 2011
A remarkable book... it is searchingly honest, and desperately sad at times. At others, it is genuinely very funny. Quite a feat.
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Billy Me and You