Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU
by Jenny Jaeckel
Published October 7th, 2016 by Raincloud Press
Paperback, 116 page
Spot 12 delivers the gritty details of a new mother and her newborn daughter, Asa, during a five-month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in this visually gripping graphic memoir by Jenny Jaeckel. A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and Jaeckel and her husband find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crises. Surrounded by disagreements and family tensions, death, and questions of faith, Jaeckel struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind.
Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated doctors and nurses are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the caring individuals who do all they can to save Baby Asa. At times Jaeckel and her husband battle feelings of helplessness and despair, but their determination, hope, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little girl alive.
Thanks to Jenny Jaeckel having the courage to tell a very personal part of her family's life I have a new favorite graphic novel, SPOT 12. It’s an exceptional chronicle of what it is like to deal with having a baby in the NICU. Therefore, as a reader, you get a special glance into a minute habitat that most of us never see. You will be standing vigil with Jenny and Cito over their baby Asa in constant diligence regarding her well-being and medical care. The physical and mental exhaustion that the parents endure is overwhelming while in the NICU yet family, friends along with other families that have babies in the NICU are supportive and helpful. Do not let the sadness of this frighten you away because there are many heartfelt and uplifting parts too.
Images of anthropomorphized animal characters are depicted as individuals which I think is a genius concept including their names such as nurse Gentlediaper, nurse Chuckles, and my favorite is Dr. Eyes who is a frog. In addition to this, the illustrations did great at showing what is physically wrong with Asa and also the procedures that she had to undergo. The drawings are some of the best that I have encountered in a Graphic Novel at showing emotions, including the havoc that has overtaken their lives. There are not a lot of dialogue bubbles the story is written above each picture in a white box told through the eyes of the mother Jenny Jaeckel.
Though the story is based on a sick newborn, it shows that being a fighter can be a natural instinct causing a positive outcome. I would definitely recommend going to the author's website to see how Asa is doing today. Finally, I would like to thank Jenny for giving Respiratory Therapists the credit they deserve in the medical field. Myself being a Respiratory Therapist we are easily overlooked.
May the Jaeckel family have a wonderfully blessed life.
Shoot for the moon Asa!
Jenny Jaeckel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literatures from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a certified interpreter and translator (Spanish) and teaches illustration. She lives in Victoria, Vancouver Island in British Columbia with her husband and daughter.
Jaeckel is the author and illustrator of three graphic memoirs: Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU, which won a 2008 Xeric Grant (printed in Canada, to be released in the US in 2016 in both English and Spanish), Siberiak: My Cold War Adventure on the River Ob (published in 2014), and Odd Pieces: Memoir of a Childhood (to be published in 2017). For the Love of Meat: Nine Illustrated Stories is her first collected fiction (2016).
Check out the other tour stops:
Monday, October 10th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, October 11th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Wednesday, October 12th: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, October 13th: Readaholic Zone
Monday, October 17th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, October 18th: Helen’s Book Blog
Wednesday, October 19th: nomadreader
Thursday, October 20th: Real Life Reading
Monday, October 24th: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Tuesday, October 25th: Book Hooked Blog
Wednesday, October 26th: Show This Book Some Love
Thursday, October 27th: Dreaming Big
Monday, October 31st: Rebecca Radish
Tuesday, November 1st: Musings of a Marfan Mom
Wednesday, November 2nd: From the TBR Pile