Author: Matilda Tristram
Pages: not paginated
Publish Date: Summer 2014
Author website: http://www.mmaattiillddaa.com
guest review and response illustration by Northwestern medical student Runjhun Bhatia
Probably Nothing is, when you initially read the summary, a depressing concept. Nine months of pregnancy compounded by bowel cancer, you think. Or perhaps vice versa. How awful. The graphic novel is a simplistically drawn diary-like account of having cancer and being pregnant. Matilda’s experience could probably be a good insight for anyone with cancer or for a woman who is pregnant.
The graphic novel is exhaustive — though the drawings are not detailed, the detail Matilda goes into about her life throughout these circumstances is extensive. It becomes evident through her experience that having cancer and being pregnant has taken over her identity. She mentions her former job description of teaching animation once. However, it is an intercession that is surprising and incongruent with the perception the reader forms of her in the initial pages of the book. It is clear that cancer has made her dependent on others and pregnancy furthers that dependence. When her child is born, some of that dependence starts to wane, she begins to mention her career again, and of course her child is now dependent on her. It seems that her newborn helps her return to some semblance of normalcy, but of course, she can’t be completely normal again until her scans come back clear.
Daily Mail story about Probably Nothing here.