Blossoms and Bones: Drawing a Life Back Together By Kim Krans

Kim Krans Ý 8 Read

Visionary artist and New York Times bestselling author of The Wild Unknown Kim Krans returns with a decadently illustrated and incredibly raw graphic memoir that chronicles her multi-layered search for truth and recovery from an eating disorder and infertility in the throes of a health and wellness-obsessed culture, touching on the healing potentials of creativity and spirituality. 

With pen and paper as her trusted allies, revered visionary artist, spiritual seeker, and bestselling author of The Wild Unknown, Kim Krans chronicles her deeply personal journey of recovery through drawing.

After cancelling her flight home to wellness-obsessed Los Angeles, where Krans had been secretly experiencing a debilitating eating disorder, she finds her way to an ashram and seeks spiritual and creative refuge. For forty days she relies on “drawing the feeling” as a way to realign her relationship to food, addiction, fertility, perfectionism, and the endless messaging of “never enough” echoing throughout current culture. She makes the ashram her home and embarks on the healing process through intricately hand-drawn narration of both her inner and outer worlds, cancelling forthcoming high-profile teaching obligations and international travel. Radical simplification, meditation, community, and creativity bring her through the darkest chapter of her life. 

What emerges from Krans’ deeply personal undertaking is a raw and beautiful never-before-seen artists’ document that explores what it means to prioritize truth and self-discovery in a world of relentless expectations and distractions. A memoir at its heart, Blossoms and Bones is a lifeline of light and beauty, a call to embrace our creative power, and a courageous example of realigning with one’s destiny. Blossoms and Bones: Drawing a Life Back Together

As naive as I am in selecting books, I do judge my books by the covers and rarely read the synopsis, as an avid gardener I assumed i was going to be reading about flowers... This was a wildly different experience, sobering and stunning, I even fought back tears. Brave, creative, cathartic, healing, all graphically displayed, it was an unforgettable journey and I admire the depths of her soul searching to the bare bones. Spirituality, Art Kim Krans had an awful year involving infertility, miscarriage, and divorce that led to midlife crisis, depression, an eating disorder, and this book. I feel sorry for what she has undergone, and some readers will probably find this raw graphic memoir with its mission statement of drawing the feeling to be quite moving. There are some individual pages that are quite remarkable.

Unfortunately, I'm a cynical old bastard and mostly found the raw to be messy, the graphic to be scribbly, and the memoir to be sketchy, withholding, and at times a sort of hair shirt performance piece.

From what I can glean, Krans dropped out of her daily life to live in an ashram in Pennsylvania for a month while producing this book as a daily diary of her emotional state. It's a variation on the 24-hour comic that has been around for decades. She seems to begin the project aware that she is producing a book, going so far to include a draft for the cover on page 30, just three days into her stay.

She does not disclose in the book whether she has already sold the project to a publisher as she begins or is producing it on spec to shop around afterward. I was curious about the ashram, so I checked the website of the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and their current posted rates are $160/day for single room with an additional fee of $40/day for amenities (meals, classes, etc.), meaning a 30-day retreat would run $6,000. Also, her stay in the ashram followed a two-week trip to India just two months previous (And there is a New York City sublet in play throughout this?) Admittedly, I don't know what Himalayan Institute rates were in April 2019 or if Krans had some sort of discount, publisher's advance, or other subsidy to cover her stay, but I find myself distracted by all the above, wondering what role finances and/or a possible deadline played in the production of the book.

Having read several books about antiracism in the last few weeks, I'm additionally distracted as I consider the cultural appropriation aspects of Krans' obsession with the spirituality and alternative medicines of India and other countries.

When I could focus on the pages of the book, I found much of them devoted to a skeletal stand-in for the author, which creates an odd dissonance in a work that repeatedly stresses truth and not filtering. And I was a bit flummoxed by the climax of the book -- teased repeatedly throughout -- being

Bottom line: This book was not for me, but I do not deny that others may find it compelling or cathartic. Spirituality, Art A 3.5-star rating.

This story was written over a period of one-month. I assigned myself the daily task of drawing the feelings. After about six months of negotiating what was quickly developing into a mid-life eating disorder. Nothing seemed to help my symptoms... I wasn't the eating disorder type. I was too smart, too confident, too savvy to be involved in such things. Not me. Not food. Not in this lifetime. At a young age I sensed my mom's fixation on food. Emotional eating. I came to recognize its signs & symptoms from across our humble midwest table: hiding, nibbling, seconds then secret thirds. It was a spell that plagued my aunts, my mom's friends, my grandma. Not me, decided. Not in this lifetime.

Then life tossed me, as it tends to do, a series of unforeseen changes. Soon afterwards, the thing' that I convinced myself wasn't a thing, became a thing. Simply put, I could not stop either eating or not eating. I woke up & went to bed thinking about food. I ate things that were frozen, in the trash, in other people's cupboards, all in secret, all in shame. I could not recognize my body, my thoughts, or my actions. Nor could I control them. Before my eyes I was becoming one of the women I so coldly & consistently rejected. After six, eight, ten months of this (give or take a juice cleansing) I decided no one could help me except the feeling itself. It was powerful & beyond my control. Therefore, it could become something big. I decided to let the feeling out of the closet. Introduction - pgs. 4 & 5

This book and its concept is a marvelous idea and the handwritten text in compilation with the black and white drawings provide the atmosphere of anguish, shame, fear, despair, resistance, frustration that Kim was experiencing with her Life during that time. In revealing her pain and vulnerability she opens up that closet that many, particularly Women are stuck in and offers up a resource that may act as a mirror, confirmation in many cases, and possibly an outlet and or approach that may assist their journey to wellness. I would have liked to see Kim take that extra step in truly fulfilling the mandate she set for herself and excavate more thoroughly, yet succinctly the full depths of her wounding, because without that level of explicitness and disclosure, there's a missed opportunity. Spirituality, Art Book blurb: A raw graphic memoir that chronicles her multi-layered search for truth and recovery from an eating disorder and infertility in the throes of a health and wellness-obsessed culture, touching on the healing potentials of creativity and spirituality.

This book is a journal/sketchbook/safe place for the author's journey back to health. While the sketchy black and white art was not exactly to my taste, I did appreciate what the author was going for here. Recovery is messy and awkward and painful and raw, and that is well captured in this illustrated memoir. Spirituality, Art Well, what a journey this was. Never have I had to turn a book this way and that so much just to read its contents. It almost gives House of Leaves a run for its money in that regard. But this is no House of Leaves. It's a memoir. Art project. Book of feelings. Sketchbook. Thing.

This is probably one of the hardest books to review because of what it is. On the one hand, it is an outpouring from an individual, author and artist Kim Krans, during a very painful part of her life. She is recently divorced (or separated?), recently had her fourth miscarriage, and is in the midst of an eating disorder. On the other hand, it is an egotistical self-hug that doesn't live up to the expectations it set for itself (and the reader) in its first pages.

The mantra of this graphic novel is write the feeling. So each day for 40 days, Krans sits down and writes the feeling, a month's worth of which is supposed to somehow be a book. And it is a book. A sketchbook. There is no plot. Even Krans' own life is only ever hinted at in piecemeal. A vast majority of this book is the author hemming and hawing over what to write, what feelings to explore, what topics to avoid or confront. Metaphorical friends are created and introduced at random throughout the story, and all they do is argue with the author to keep moving forward, urging her incessantly to continue to draw the feeling.

I thought I had a book in hand with a subtitle of Drawing a life back together. I thought I had a book about eating disorders. I thought I had a book about navigating life's hard times. But what was in here? What did Krans do to alleviate herself of suffering? How did she navigate herself out of a well of self-pity and depression? How did she handle her own life's curveballs? This book. Apparently it involves dancing around thoughts and feelings. Apparently it involves secluding yourself in an ashram for a couple of months and planting flowers during sunlight hours. Apparently it involves invoking dreams and visions, finding patterns in the subconscious that reveal deeper, hidden truths. And at the same time, it's nothing. It's examining one's life and just accepting it for what it is and moving on. Anticlimactic? I thought so. Honest and truthful? I guess so.

Cause maybe that's what it's all about. Despite Krans dredging the depths of the ocean for spiritual significance, it seemed to be completely inconsequential to the outcome of this book. Her conclusion is the same conclusion people for millenia have come to about hard times: they happen, get over it, move on. Wow.

The most meaningful part of the entire book was the author writing thank you 3,000 times for her ex-husband. It came across as the most beautiful, honest part of the whole thing. I read it, and I believed her. So many other parts felt shallow, self-pitying, menial, avoiding--but this final section was raw. The little comments hidden among the many thank yous furthered that point. This was an author who had a huge breakdown, felt unsupported, and found herself with no recourse, no way to deal with her feelings. She sought google's help, she sought spirituality's help, faith healing, herbs, spices, other pseudoscientific wastes of time, and ultimately (yes, with finality) just needed to stop being so hard on herself.

And you know what? That's why I'm most disappointed in this book. Because it wasn't a journey. It wasn't a journey, I wasn't taken from point A to point B, and the author/publisher made me think that's what I'd find here. Instead it was yanking my chain until the last 20 or so pages, acting as if it was building up to something when the whole beginning is essentially meaningless in retrospect. I don't know. It's a sketchbook sold as a memoir.


Sorry you went through hard times, Kim. Hope things are going better now. I can't understand the depth of your feelings, but I'm glad you seem to have found some hope. Spirituality, Art


This artwork is so unbelievably beautiful! this whole book was basically like reading a diary, it was so so personal and emotional. It was a journey from beginning to finish, with ups and downs but oh man, the miscarriage page… that was the most heart wrenching illustration I’ve seen. Kim has such an amazing storytelling ability through mixing art and words, I really loved this book Spirituality, Art This book was very overwhelming for me to read. But in an important way. The images were powerful. I could almost feel all of the heartache and pain she was trying to navigate when writing/drawing this work. I appreciate how she laid her whole being down on this paper. Spirituality, Art i hadnt heard of this book until i took a workshop on meta comics - that is, comics where there is also an element of Making The Comic intrinsic to the comic itself. the person leading the workshop brought this memoir up as an example and i found it interesting, so i read it. as someone who finds Limitation compelling (e.g. time limitation, form limitation), the timeboxing element of this book was definitely interesting, and made me wonder if i might be drawn to work on a similar project, but then i have to ask, is it a similar project if im not going through crisis? is the crisis inherent to the work? questions like that are fun to mull over and wrestle with. plus questions like how does the vulnerability/honesty in your work change if/when you know someone else will read it? i set out to read this memoir in the context of meta comics, & it delivered in that regard for sure. Spirituality, Art Deeply personal graphic memoir about author’s eating disorder and finding herself. Very creative, raw, and honest. Spirituality, Art My last book of 2021, this was a good one for that. The irony of this being an Xmas gift from my mother is not lost on me (it was on my list, it's not like she knew what she was giving me).

To remember: Both/and. Art connecting to what you FEEL. Allowing for nothing. Writing the messy pain.

I loved this. It's emotional and raw, even as it can also be avoidant and polished. It's weird that way, just like all of us. I recommend. It's lovely. Spirituality, Art