How Okay is Charles Forsman’s I Am Not Okay With This?

The Stranger Things director and the producer of Arrival are working on adapting Charles Forsman’s graphic novel, I Am Not Okay With This, for Netflix (psst—that’s the guy who wrote The End of the F—cking World, which was adapted for Netflix earlier this year). If you aren’t already as hyped as I am, you should definitely read it before you watch it.

Sydney has all the normal problems a teenager does: she keeps getting zits on her thighs, has a crush on her best friend, deals with problems at home, and she’s got superpowers. Well, okay, maybe not totally normal. Sydney has telekinesis, but it’s not the kind we’re used to seeing. Whenever she’s angry or sexually excited (and believe me, she’s horny), Sydney gets “sweaty and anxious”, sometimes she “pukes her guts out”, and she hurts people—like really hurts people.

What’s cool about I Am Not Okay isn’t Sydney’s powers—it’s how realistic of a portrayal it is of teenage emotion. It’s not the same kind of comedic “mood-booster” you get with the Scott Pilgrim series. It’s real, it’s darker, and it’s not always pleasant. Forsman writes about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality, the death of her father, and the scary reality of her mind becoming her own antagonist, something most people who suffer from mental illness can understand.

Try not to let the simple art-style turn you off. It's kind of like Forsman threw Popeye’s Olive Oyl in X-Men, and while it sounds ridiculous, it’s that absurdity that makes it all the more real. She’s a normal girl, but she has to deal with massive problems that a kid shouldn’t have to deal with. Problems that, minus the telekinesis, most kids weirdly have to deal with. 

On the bright side, sometimes it’s funny, and most of the time it’s relatable. Plus, it does have superpowers, and when’s that ever a bad thing? Actually, don’t quote me on that. But if you liked all the wacky hijinks in the Scott Pilgrim series, you’ll probably like I Am Not Okay With This, even if it’s admittedly a bit darker.

Content warning: I Am Not Okay With This deals with PTSD and suicide—and not always in the best way—which may trigger some readers.  

 

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