Ally, by our own @Makyo, is an incredibly interesting read.
It’s a memoir, of sorts, or an autobiography. Perhaps those are both the same thing.
Anyway, it’s a really heavy book, both literally and emotionally, about Maddy, her experiences, the lives that informed those experiences, and how she works or is working through those events. It’s told in a very clever way, I think, with the titular “Ally” being a sort of part of her, a reflection of a sort. Even the story doesn’t quite know what Ally is as a concept.
For most of the book, Maddy having a conversation with Ally and Ally is prompting for more information, more details, and pushing into harder or more interesting topics. Several times Ally prompts for a difficult topic, like transitioning, or thoughts on her dad, and Maddy will respond with “later”. Eventually all of the topics brought up are covered to some degree.
What really makes me love this story is the creative way in which it’s told. The conversation between Maddy and Ally is interesting enough on it’s own, but in the margins of some of the pages an entirely different conversation is being had. Or, rather, it’s a different conversation about the same topic, in some way. There’s also a lot of mixed media in there as well, musical composition, art, images. Many of the pages are printed in different colours, based on the mood of the section (I think). There are also some old chat logs, old emails, olr journal entries used to illustrate the emotion or feeling, either at the time of writing or at the time the event took place.
I don’t think this book could ever be replicated. Not just in that it’s Maddy’s memoires, but in the style and how the book morphs and changes based on the mood and mental state of the conversation. Even if someone tried to write a book in the same style it would be wholly unique.
Ally is an incredibly complex and beautiful glimpse into Maddy’s mind and life. Personal and incomplete in a very intentional way. I don’t want to bring up too much about what is discussed in the story, I think each piece needs to be fully experienced in context. But, Content Warning There is discussion of mental health, self-harm, and suicide. If you are able to handle those topics I highly recommend it.
Ally can be read for free at ally.id though I understand the online experience is different than the book version. Some day I will give that a shot too.