Author Jane Mai created an intimate diary used to describe depression, leaving the reader in an odd, yet compelled position.
While it’s not directly stated in the comic book itself, Jane Mai illustrates a life of depression, self loathing, and misunderstanding. It’s a pretty harsh read, and it could possibly be difficult to relate to since Mai is a bit (purposely) vague when displaying her emotions, but it’s a terrific display of pacing from the artist that works well for the reader. Sunday in the Park with Boys conveys feelings that are hard to pinpoint when you’re under deep depression, but it never feels like it’s forcing you into pitying the author in any way. I believe Mai just wants you to understand.
Throughout the comic book, Jane illustrates centipede like creatures that cover certain panels and areas on pages that sort of symbolize depression that is illustrated as almost literally “eating” at her. Every couple of pages, a new idea is introduced about the character and her state of being, represented with personal opinions and thoughts by the character. It can be a bit uneasy to read the author mentally beating down on herself so hard, but by the very last page, you do have a sense of understanding on how self-loathing has indeed been eating at Mai.
Though the tone may be serious and gloomy, it does an incredible job of representing what many feel every single day with total unhappiness. Mai’s black and white illustrations do a great job accompanying the vibe of the story. The dialogue, while a bit hard to digest at times, also holds strong in Sunday in the Park with Boys, leaving behind an impressive memoir and solid read, especially for the comic book medium.