Synopses & Reviews
Sick collects peoples' experiences with illness to help establish a collective voice of those impacted within radical/left/DIY communities. The zine is meant to be a resource for those who are living with illness as well as those who have not directly experienced it themselves. Contributors discuss personal experiences as well as topics such as receiving support, providing support, and being an informed patient. These writings are meant to increase understandings of illness and further discussion as well as action towards building communities of care.
“What an odd, senslessly threatening, and lovely thing these people have put together. It's never easy to confront serious illness or handicap, either in real life or in your heads. This reads as a sharp reminder of human beings' general frailty, our knife-balance of life, and fear of death (or worse). Sick, a collection of autobiographics by the handicapped, sick, ill, or however strikes at you with all of that existential baggage. And it leaves you equal parts sad and hopeful, dread and soaring. Life isn't all drunken stargazing and warm socks, and it isn't all colostomy bags and mortal genetic fluctuations either. Sick rests comfortably in the middle. They don't want your pity; they just wouldn't mind your understanding.” —Razorcake
"Using a d.i.y. zine style book (which comes across in the writing, not in the beautiful, clean design) to actually relate something real and heavy (as opposed to real and self-indulgent and meaningless, like which Vegan ice cream is more cruelty free or how you got beat up outside the Avail show) is pretty powerful. These jarring tales of the writers' serious, incurable illnesses is a difficult but rewarding read. Moral: Be loving and supportive of your sick friends and family, because the health care system and most of their friends won't be!" —Roctober
"Sick gracefully navigates its way through a wide range of experiences as it aims to open the channels of communication and establish a collective voice for those impacted by illness. How do we respond when someone tells us they are sick? How many people in our community are transparent about having a disability or illness? What can we do to help each other feel welcome, equal, and supported? The zine also considers exclusivity within radical/DIY/punk scenes. How does someones level of health determine their participation in a particular community? Riding a bicycle, marching in a protest, and dumpster diving, for instance, are activities accessible primarily to the able-bodied. To avoid being ostracized or dismissed, many sick individuals find themselves pushed into the proverbial closet of shame and isolation. In our culture, sickness is a private affair. We have been socialized to fear or ignore it. Consequently, sick people must not only learn to manage their own disease, but are often burdened with others inability to openly discuss and cope with illness. Often racked with feelings of guilt, isolation, and alienation, it is essential that a sick persons experiences are acknowledged and validated. This is what Sick achieves. It opens dialogue and validates experience. Perhaps we cannot understand what it means to have supraventricular tachycardia, but we can learn to listen and ask our friends how we can provide the support they need. Though the accounts in Sick can be grim or downright disturbing, the writers warm resilience brightens every page with hope for opening discourse and dismantling entrenched social norms. Its the writers heartfelt declarations and earnest desire to create a caring community that makes this read so compelling. Sick is a compassionate, honest work and a necessary first step toward understanding the complexities of physical illness and building communities of support. It is challenging and tender; it is unprecedented and accessible." —Feminist Review
About the Author
Ben Holtzman is a former publisher at Routledge and is the author of Between Resistance & Community: The Long Island Do-It-Yourself Punk Scene. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.