2016 Governor General's Literary Award Finalist
Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In this brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, she documents through comic illustration and short personal essays what it means to live with the disease. She confronts with heartbreaking honesty the crises of identity that cancer brings: a lifelong vegetarian, Teva agrees to use experimental drugs that have been tested on animals. She struggles to reconcile her long-term goals with an uncertain future, balancing the innate sadness of cancer with everyday acts of hope and wonder. She also examines those quiet moments of helplessness and loving with her husband, her family, and her friends, while they all adjust to the new normal.
Ultimately, In-Between Days is redemptive and uplifting, reminding each one of us of how beautiful life is, and what a gift.
Beautiful, heartbreaking, honest, and true, In-Between Days explores not just what it means to live with terminal cancer, but what it means to live with integrity in the face of our mortality. I couldn’t put it down.
Harrison’s drawing style is more freeform than finicky, and her linework has an appealing vulnerability. But even beyond that aesthetic quality, there’s a remarkable directness to seeing vignettes from a life coloured by cancer that cuts to the quick…The results are profoundly, achingly affecting…What’s striking is, as Sontag might say, her resistance to metaphoric thinking. There’s whimsy, to be sure: the author and a friend don tails and sequins and march in a mermaid parade, and Harrison conjures childhood summers spent stargazing and having flower-petal snowball fights. But when it comes to the day-to-day details of cancer, Harrison is unflinching in her efforts to tell—and show—the straight story.
There’s no real preparation for how hard Teva Harrison’s stunning graphic novel will hit you. It doesn’t humanize the disease — that would be banal — and it doesn’t aggrandize the journey — that would be self-help bunk. Rather, it portrays the process as something achingly human, a daily tumult of stuff that roughly amounts to survival. Teva Harrison has stared into the abyss. And what has stared back but love?
In her heartbreakingly honest exploration of these spaces in-between, Harrison provides a useful guide for those who cannot know the thoughts and fears of someone living with chronic illness; and for those experiencing a similar situation, the book shows that even in the most personal of journeys, you are not alone. At its heart, In-Between Days is a firm statement that joy and hope can exist in the same space as anxiety and fear; that each day we are given should be lived, as Harrison says, “With a sense of wonder and delight.”
Heartbreaking. Profound. Sly and brutal and funny and crushing. Teva Harrison’s In-Between Days is one of the most stunning memoirs I've ever read. Teva’s taught me it’s not about the number of days left to us. It’s about living them completely.
Teva Harrison’s memoir is a frank, moving, powerfully minimalist yet deceptively complex work of art. With seemingly simple, but ingeniously pared-down strokes, Harrison bestows upon her readers the gift of complete empathy. Without forcing a thing she makes her readers FEEL how she feels — it’s remarkable! — and by the end of this powerful shared experience, by allowing her readers into her heart and mind, she occupies with us both our present and future. We’re all in great shape, we realize thanks to Harrison, as living, feeling, loving human beings.
…an unflinchingly honest and occasionally joyful account of Harrison’s day-to-day life
There are many books about living with cancer, and then there is Teva Harrison's, "In-Between Days"
“Teva Harrison’s diagnosis with incurable cancer removes the expectation of an abundance of more — more dreams fulfilled, more time — but focuses her attention on the near and immediate. In this honest and raw memoir, Harrison examines and discovers, grieves, and celebrates, and takes us with her as she crafts a ragged and resonant beauty from her experience in these In-Between Days.”
Teva Harrison is a metastatic voice that I believe is breaking through. By using humour and creativity to draw people in to a challenging topic, Teva is expanding the breast cancer conversation and shedding light on the complexities and nuances of the disease. I believe In-Between Days will help improve public understanding as well as empower and support others dealing with metastatic breast cancer. Beautifully done.
Every tale of illness… has the potential to transform a personal story into a universal lesson. Teva Harrison’s In-Between Days lives up to that potential, and then some…beautiful and often arresting…
raw, brilliant, thought-provoking, and very disquieting
Teva’s art and reflections powerfully capture the struggles of being young and facing the certain, yet uncertain end of your life. May we all be this honest with ourselves as we deal with life’s challenges. Inspiring, insightful, contemplative, thank you Teva.
How does a person live with meaning — and joy — in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis? Teva Harrison answers this question with pitch-perfect honesty and clarity, even when delving into her own complex contradictions. From Harrison’s rigorous honesty comes wisdom. In-Between Days is a beautiful offering. This book fills my heart. The world is lucky to have Teva Harrison. She truly knows how to live, and to love.
As someone recovering from a serious illness, I related so deeply to Teva’s work. No one writes about illness like this, it was hard to stop crying (in a happy way) because I felt so understood.
In-Between Days offers a fresh perspective, approaching a topic that has inspired so many sad stories with an unexpected vibrancy.
In-Between Days, a graphic novel that combines comics and short essays that explore what it is like to live with incurable cancer, is, all at once, heartbreaking and heartwarming, revealing and honest, all the while showcasing how beautiful and unfair life can be
With great wisdom, Teva Harrison understands that her cancer doesn’t make her special. But this book certainly does. Through her art and her words, we are reminded of the power of creativity, and that hope for the future is an essentially creative act.
With insight and honesty, Teva Harrison invites us to join her on this deeply personal, beautifully expressed journey with cancer. Through this remarkable book, we encounter awkward ironies, the quietly harrowing reality of our mortal human condition, and moments of distilled life and beauty. Wryly unflinching in her examination of her condition, its treatment, and herself, Teva shares with us the gift that emerges from her in-between days.
Inspiring, eye-opening and darkly funny, In-Between Days runs the emotional gamut, with comic strips so sharp they feel like a punch to the heart.