Welcome to Nursing HELLo: a graphic memoir by Joel Craig
Review by Lauren
copy for review; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: What happens when all the jobs for movie star have been filled? The next best thing is to become a nurse and that is exactly what Joel Craig did. Follow this RN's rocky rise into nursing. If you are a nurse, nursing student, want to be a nurse or will be going into the hospital anytime soon, check out this story. Joel writes about the things that nurses think but never dare to say out loud.
Review: Joel Craig's graphic memoir was definitely an interesting look into the mind's of some nurses. While there are certainly many people in the medical field that entered because they genuinely want to help or its a passion, there are still plenty of others that found themselves there in other ways. Craig is one of the latter, as he really wanted to be an actor. However, that wasn't paying the bills and when his husband, Donovan, expressed interest in going to nursing school, Craig decided to follow along a semester behind.
This book seems like a collection of comics for zines placed together in one large format. This works for the most part, though I found a couple moments where the story repeated itself. Since the book is in the form of a graphic novel, it doesn't really slow things down, so it's easily overlooked.
Throughout the book there are moments where Craig provides a page of just writing that allows you to get more into his thoughts. I thought this was a nice touch, especially since it's a memoir.
Craig shares some pretty interesting stories about being a nurse. There are the crazy patients, there are the doctors who don't have time for you, and the pharmacy that won't answer your calls. However, there are still plenty of positives like nurses that help each other out, genuine patients that appreciate your help, and seeing nurses grow and become better.
And finally, the artwork- this will go under both categories, but for positive, the drawing is simple and easy to view. It makes the book feel more real. It's as if anyone could share their story with simple drawings.
Not So Positives-
Craig has conversations throughout the book with "Madonna." I put her name in quotes because it's not actually her of course. While I wouldn't say it's a detriment to the story, it didn't add a ton besides allowing you to get into Craig's head even more. You could tell he was a fan of Madonna and their story paralleled this idea of learning to go for your dreams and finding the thing you love. So, again, it's not a bad aspect of the book but it wasn't my favorite part.
The book focuses on a lot of the bad about being a nurse. It's Craig story, so you know he's just being honest, and he does genuinely want to find a place in nursing that he likes best. However, some of the stories were a bit much and I wish I could have seen more positivity in the nursing field. Granted, I know nursing is difficult and it's not something I could ever handle, so kudos to Craig for getting through.
And back to the artwork - while there are positives to it, there are some not so positives. Since the drawing is so simple, it's not as captivating as other graphic novels. Everything is in black and white, and while Craig includes as much detail as he can, it's not entirely enough.
In the End-
I read this book in one day and I do think it would be fascinating for those in the nursing field, but apart from that demographic, it might not connect to a lot of other readers. I'm glad to have had the chance to check it out though, and I liked getting to read about Craig's overall journey and how he kept art in his life at all costs.
I read this for the Graphic Novel Reading Challenge