Centering on the friendship of 20-something Toni and Lulu, this zany, humorous, and factual graphic novel takes the reader on a psychedelic journey from trauma to healing. This book, written and illustrated by two seasoned psychologists, blends fiction with non-fiction and contains elements of magical realism in a myth-like tale of sibling incest and trauma. However, it can be used more broadly to help heal the gamut of sexual and physical abuse. The central narrative is accompanied by scientific explanations. Our target readership is a young adult and adult audience. This novel is informative for interested general readers, psychotherapists, their patients, and students of psychology. The book’s website is here.
Here is a synopsis of the story: The Eel and the Blowfish tells the story of sibling incest and recovery. At the start of the novel, our heroine, Toni, is withdrawn and nearly mute from a recent nightmare about her earlier traumatic experiences. In her underwater dream sequence, we meet Toni’s brother, Charlie. Both become transformed—Toni into a powerful blowfish, Charlie into a slithering eel. Each possesses archetypal, magical Trickster energy (can bend rules and re-shape or reverse reality).
Toni, moved by her good friend Lulu, brings her dream to her psychotherapist, Dr. Young. After undergoing an embodied method of dreamwork, Toni emerges inspired to seek out her brother, whom she hasn’t seen for years. The reader is next offered three possible endings to this tense situation, with the third variation being the actual course of events.
When Toni and Lulu find Charlie on the Golden Gate Bridge, he is suicidal. Several dreams later, Toni and Charlie move toward healing. Dr. Young helps Toni process what’s happened. The book begins and ends with the same mandala, which tells the entire story of Toni’s journey.
The final scene is dreamlike with all the characters taking their place in the heavens, as if forming their own constellation.
The authors are both clinicians, teachers, and prolific writers. Leanne Domash, PhD, has just published Imagination, Creativity, and Spirituality in Psychotherapy: Welcome to Wonderland (Routledge, 2021). Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD, has just published and illustrated Mythic Imagination Today: The Interpenetration of Mythology and Science (Brill, 2021). Alongside multiple professional books, she has also published a coloring book called Truly Mindful Coloring (PESI, 2016) that includes psychological content [see www.markstarlow.com].