- Mangaka : Mariko Kikuchi
- Publisher : Seven Seas
- Genre : Autobiography
- Published : November 9, 2021
It is said that one of the few common things humanity shares is trauma, and this may unfortunately be true. We’ve never met anybody who doesn’t have their fair share of traumatic experiences. If there’s really somebody out there without any sort of trauma, be it family, work, childhood, or romance, then we’re genuinely happy for them and wish that they don’t ever experience it. That being said, there are some who have gone through worse than a lot of us. Mariko Kikuchi, the mangaka of A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic, has bravely shared her experiences with us, and we applaud her for it. Here’s our review of A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic.
A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic is Mariko Kikuchi’s manga autobiography entailing her life experiences with alcoholism. She narrates her experiences with her alcoholic father and how much it has affected her as a person, as well as her future life decisions. She starts the story at the very beginning, which is around her first conscious moments as her father has been an alcoholic as early as she can remember.
1. Too Relatable Content
Alcohol addiction is one of the most common addictions out there. That said, there may be a lot of individuals who can relate to Kikuchi’s life experiences, both in a good and bad way. Kikuchi explicitly details her past. While it’s fortunately not as graphic as rape or violence, the psychological abuse and mental baggage that have accumulated over time are very apparent. Not only that, but she also explains how it has affected her, from being gaslighted to gaslighting herself and balling up her emotions, as well as failing to recognize blatant red flags in a relationship. It’s gotten so bad that the only partner she believes is suitable for her is another alcoholic like her father. It has even come to a point wherein she believes that she deserves abusive treatment. On one hand, readers who resonate with Kikuchi’s experience may find the story cathartic. On the other hand, seeing her suffering and its effects may be triggering.
1. It’s a Page-Turner
The way Kikuchi tells her story is so seamless that there’s rarely any moment we have to stop reading. We just absorb all the information like a sponge. It’s so beautifully written that we find it so easy to empathize with her. We feel both infuriated and helpless every time she gets hit or gaslighted. We’ve been sucked into her world almost since the very beginning of the story. No matter how painful her circumstance is, we can’t stop reading, hoping that it will get better for her. We are constantly hoping that she will have a “happily ever after”. If that does actually happen, you’ll have to read A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic to know.
2. The Thoughts of the Victim
The charm of titles like this is that readers get to see a fairly common occurrence from a new perspective. Kikuchi lays out all of her emotions in the manga, from disappointment to anger, as well as the reasons behind them. There is no filter whatsoever to make a certain persona seem like the villain. At least, that’s what it looks like to us. She paints her father as this hateful, heartless individual who cannot care any less about his family. However, she also includes moments wherein he has actually been a good father figure. This gives us a deeper understanding of how the cycle of cruelty and confusion came to be. While we won’t ever wish for someone to experience Kikuchi’s experiences, we find her story both enlightening and riveting.
A Life Turned Upside Down: My Dad’s an Alcoholic is a gripping tale proving that abuse doesn’t always have to be physical to have long-lasting effects. Mariko Kikuchi’s beautifully-written autobiography manga is perhaps the only good thing that came out of her suffering. While we are dejected to learn of what she’s gone through, we are grateful for learning of her story. If you’re going through or have gone through the same experiences, be warned that reading it may either be cathartic or triggering. Do pay heed before picking it up, and please seek professional help.