Book Title: The Secret Life of Debbie G.
Author: Vibha Batra
Published by: Harper Children’s
Published on: January 26th, 2021
Genre: Children and Young Adult
**I purchased this book with my own money.There was no obligation to post/give this book a certain rating.
Do you suffer from social media anxiety disorder?
I’ve been there and FOMO is a real thing. We are repeatedly exposed to all the fabulous lives around us while we sit at home in our PJs, feeling inadequate and restless. We never feel good enough and the struggle of comparison doesn’t help in feeling calmer or happier.
This is also an outcome of the hustle culture and toxic productivity.
TW: Bullying, Slut-shaming, Body Shaming, Homophobia, Divorced parents
“… the most dangerous things on earth are not guns, not bullets, not bombs. It’s ideas. I mean, they are positively lethal. They can blow up reputations, assassinate characters, rip apart lives.”
The Secret Life of Debbie G. is a graphic novel written from a teen girl’s perspective.
Our protagonist Soundarya’s journey through high-school bullies, body shaming, homophobia, and slut shaming while she deals with divorced parents is what the book is about.
Soundarya aka Arya is unapologetic and feisty. She loves to doodle and creates an Instagram page to get back at the mean ones at school. Think Gossip Girls? Arya enjoys her online persona until things start going downhill.
I started reading graphic novels only last year and I realize how much I love it. Though this book is a one-sitting read, it covers some important issues like divorce, remarriage, family dynamics, along with the above-mentioned topics. And therefore this is both a joyful as well as profound read.
Arya’s relationship with her mother, Aishwarya is one of the main highlights of the book. The author rightfully accomplished to erase the stigma of a divorcee having a second chance at love.
My most important takeaway was dealing with social media anxiety and how sometimes, one would go to any lengths for a little bit of popularity, number of followers, likes, and comments. Little do we know that as time goes by, this hyper-demand of social acceptance in a perfect society that is portrayed through social media is mentally exhausting and harmful to one’s emotional wellbeing.
The author has effortlessly portrayed the emotions and troubles of a teenager with the right dose of Gen Z lingos. There is a fine line between creating awareness and sounding preachy and the author was successful in sending the right message to the readers.
The illustrations by Kalyani Ganapathy make it an even more enjoyable read. The book cover is quirky and eye-catchy.
Now to the not-so-good part!
I loved almost everything about the book but felt the ending a wee bit rushed. It should have had a bit of breathing time before coming to an abrupt end.
I’d also like to point out that the book lacked trigger warnings. For something that talks a lot about mental health and deals with sensitive topics, trigger warnings at the beginning of a book is imperative.
Yes! This coming-of-age graphic novel is a must-read for all Gen Zs and you’d find yourself nodding along (rather eye-rolling along with Arya) throughout the book.
Have you read The Secret Life of Debbie G.? I’d love to know your thoughts.
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