Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story by Julia Wertz rings it at just over 300 pages and hardcover, so there is no mistaking that this graphic memoir is going to be as weighty as it feels. Wertz has earned her publishing chops with five other collections and as a contributor to the The New York Times and The New Yorker, but both seasoned and entry-level readers of her work will feel welcomed here.
Opening at the culmination of a disastrous trip to Puerto Rico, the first page of the graphic memoir Impossible People finds Julia standing stupefied in the middle of the jungle beside a rental Jeep she’s just crashed. From this moment, the story flashes back to the beginning of her five-year journey towards sobriety that includes group therapy sessions, relapses, an ill-fated relationship, terrible dates, and an unceremonious eviction from her New York City apartment. Far from the typical addiction narrative that follows an upward trajectory from rock bottom to rehab to recovery, Impossible People portrays the lesser-told but more common story: That the road to recovery is not always linear. With unflinching honesty, Wertz details the arduous, frustrating, and hilarious story of trying and failing and trying again.