Spinning by Tillie Walden

Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second
Source: Publisher

Spinning, Tillie Walden’s memoir, focuses particularly on the years she spent as a figure skater while in middle and high school. The  book starts off in New Jersey and then moves to Texas when Tillie’s family relocates there for reasons the reader is not made privy to.

What resonates is Tillie’s isolation, even when she is surrounded by like-minded girls doing the exact same thing she is. Because she is desperate to keep her sexual orientation secret, she builds walls around herself–and also, I reckon she was an awkward child. Her mother does not seem like a kindly character though her father was always nicer–to her at least.

What I found most poignant was how alone Tillie seemed. She had no one to talk to until her cello teacher; she didn’t find acceptance even from her twin who was supposed to always be on her side. And her first love is ripped from her. The honesty in this graphic memoir gives it superlative depth. I reckon there are kids out there who are going through the very same thing Tillie Walden went through who will find her book extremely inspiring.

The figure skating, for all the time she spent on it, was something more like a coping mechanism for Tillie than a true passion. Spinning is a quiet book that contains no heroics but showcases the importance of perseverance and a person to confide into. I look forward to reading more from her.