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 Conversation17 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.
Richard Bruton,Forbidden Planet25 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.
Streeten's honesty at revealing some of her less generous thoughts, along with her sense of humour, manage to keep this sensitive material far from grim, while remaining extremely moving. I see this book in the same revolutionary vein [as punk rock], its artwork not seeking to soothe the reader with beautiful images, but rewarding, with its raw emotion, and an ultimately uplifting message, those who can look beyond aesthetic orthodoxy.