Honey Bear is a black and white US-sized half-fold perzine about living with Crohn’s disease, misdiagnosis, and mental and chronic illness.
Anna opens with trigger warnings right on page one, so I thought it’d be helpful to include them in the review:
Trigger warnings: suicide, self-harm, vomiting, eating disorders, abuse, needles
Honey Bear opens with a short and sweet (pun fully intended) story behind the title of this zine involving a very cute honey bear bottle of honey. From there, Anna introduces the reader to who they are and how having lived in Hawaii inevitably leads to the question of why they left.
Anna shares how their life in Hawaii was a dark one, and how, even after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, their journey was a difficult one. Mental illness, misdiagnosis of an eating disorder (yes, after the Crohn’s diagnosis), and abuse in the background were slowly killing them.
A move to their dad’s in Michigan and a hospitalisation there saved their life, and they go on to write about life since then.
Honey Bear is a handwritten zine that is primarily text, and Anna’s handwriting is easy to read. (A must for handwritten zines.) It also has a sewn binding, which I think looks quite nice.
I get the feeling that this zine may be a first/early perzine for Anna, as it covers a lot of things but doesn’t spend a lot of time examining them. There was a lot about Anna’s life packed into a relatively short zine. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; it’s all up to your reading preferences. It does leave me wanting more, so that’s a good thing in terms of me going to look around for more of Anna’s zines.
Plus, it just goes to show another reason to love zines – self-examination and putting thoughts somewhere other than your mind.
All up, Honey Bear was an interesting peek into Anna’s life that made me feel sad about what they have gone through and alluded to while also leaving me with a lot of questions. I’d like to see more from Anna.