Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Comics & Graphic Novels Contemporary Women

Dear Scarlet

The Story of My Postpartum Depression

by (author) Teresa Wong

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
Contemporary Women, Biography & Memoir, Motherhood, Women's Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Longlisted for Canada Reads; Finalist, City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

In this intimate and moving graphic memoir, Teresa Wong writes and illustrates the story of her struggle with postpartum depression in the form of a letter to her daughter Scarlet. Equal parts heartbreaking and funny, Dear Scarlet perfectly captures the quiet desperation of those suffering from PPD and the profound feelings of inadequacy and loss. As Teresa grapples with her fears and anxieties and grasps at potential remedies, coping mechanisms, and her mother's Chinese elixirs, we come to understand one woman's battle against the cruel dynamics of postpartum depression.

Dear Scarlet is a poignant and deeply personal journey through the complexities of new motherhood, offering hope to those affected by PPD, as well as reassurance that they are not alone.

About the author

Teresa Wong is a Calgary writer who had three children in less than five years. At first, she feared motherhood would destroy her, but is pleasantly surprised to find herself continually remade. When the kids are asleep, she writes and draws pictures. When she is asleep, it's never for long. Dear Scarlet is her first book.

Teresa Wong's profile page


  • Short-listed, City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

Editorial Reviews

Dear Scarlet feels brave: Wong articulates sentiments that fly in the face of societal conventions about motherhood in a book explicitly created for her daughter to read ... The urgency of these stories is matched by the immediacy of their form. -New York Times

In a society where women's stories of childbirth and early motherhood are expected to be either fairy tales or else not told at all, Dear Scarlet is an act of bravery. I am so grateful that Teresa Wong has chosen to share this sensitive, charming and honest work with us. -Sarah Glidden, author of Rolling Blackouts

I love this book! It's full of pain, despair, beauty and joy -- communicated masterfully in simple, elegant comics. Teresa Wong moves easily from pages full of frank details about physical and emotional suffering to heartbreakingly silent depictions of the isolation and blankness of depression. Through it all, she maintains a self-awareness and sense of humour that keep us reading. Dear Scarlet offers validation and comfort, not to mention some laughs of recognition, for anyone who has suffered pain and kept 'fumbling through the sadness.' -Sarah Leavitt, author of Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer's, My Mother and Me

This book is so important -- it's like a friend reaching through the darkness and telling your own story back to you. It's universal and heartbreaking and so, so reassuring. Moms are so strong. -Lucy Knisley, author of Kid Gloves

We see quiet but similarly daunting images: simple bird's-eye views of her baby surrounded by white space, tiny arms stretching out of her swaddle. The rendering's variance in tone feels true to life. It's sometimes quiet, sometimes deafening, and always complex. Whatever the volume, there are always possibilities for suffocation but also for beauty and hope. -Paris Review

Wong's images and minimal text are pleasing to the eye, making it hard for the reader to put the book down. She has a knack for taking a hard subject like mental illness, one that is often silenced, and using empathy and humour to address it directly. -The Ormsby Review

From this easy-reading and welcoming story of Wong's very tough time, readers will understand that suffering from PPD is not unique, and there's lots of help -- and hope -- available. -Booklist

Teresa Wong's spare, lovely exploration of postpartum depression is compassionate and direct in all the right ways and, most importantly, locates the thread of joy that runs through a life -- even if, in our most despairing hours or days or weeks, it seems as though it's been lost to us forever. -Emily Flake, author of Mama Tried

This raw but reassuring memoir filled with helpful suggestions to mothers struggling with similar situations and feelings is sure to resonate with many new parents. -Publishers Weekly

We need more vulnerable, tender, self-effacing, real, funny and insightful books like this - and more brave and bold authors like Wong. -Herizons

Full to bursting with sadness, insight and hope. -Tom Hart, author of Rosalie Lightning

With heartbreaking candor and utterly disarming humor, Wong removes the rose-colored glasses through which our culture so often views new motherhood. -Bustle

Related lists

Related blog posts