The only thing better than a Chinese version of your book is an illustrated Chinese version of your book

Please don't eat the cover!

Whenever I receive a package I’m not expecting I assume it’s a bomb. Or anthrax. Or a pig’s heart. (You won’t think I’m so silly when I’m killed one day by an anthrax bomb hidden in a pig’s heart!) So when I opened the package that had been left under my welcome mat I was deliriously happy and surprised to discover that it was the Chinese version of my book, Chocolate & Vicodin. I started hollering, “Yes, yes, yes!” to myself so loudly that my downstairs neighbors must have thought I was getting some Valentine’s Day lovin’. Ever since the translation rights sold last year I’ve been curious to see what my book would look like printed in Chinese characters. How they would translate “Angerballz” in my acknowledgements section? I started to flip through the book to see, and that’s when I noticed it.

This book was illustrated!

Pill poppin' mama

The beginning of each chapter includes an image depicting the content of that chapter in hilarious, overly-literal fashion! The story of my life had been illustrated! I do believe this is THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER. The girl even sort of looks like me, if I were thinner, never changed my clothes, and had boobs. In chapter one above I’m chomping on pills that look like baguettes, one of which has blinded my left eye, while I’m either shaking my fist towards the sky or trying to knock myself out with an awkward right hook. This totally happened, I’m sure. I just don’t remember it because of all the pills I took.

Just take my blood, why dontcha'?

I love that the doctor in this one is wearing one of those weird shiny, metal circle thingies like no doctor I have ever met. I will give the illustrator realism points for the MRI films in the background, though I can’t tell if they captured my venous angioma in proper detail.

Chocolate and Vicodin

Hey, it’s chocolate and Vicodin! Just like the title! This should have been the cover, right?

Sympathy for your coworker

I want to send this to my old work friends and ask them which coworker they think they are in this illustration. I also love that the illustrator thought I brought an entire IV stand to work when I actually just had a lead inserted in my hand for treatment at home. I bet I would have gotten a lot more sympathy if I’d dragged the whole stand around! Good thinking!

I don't even know how to tie a noose knot

I know I am totally twisted, but this illustration had me laughing forever. I don’t even know how to tie a noose!

Treatment of allergic!

This image gives me great faith in the quality of the translation for the rest of the book.

I'm a porcupine!

The acupuncture picture is tied for first as my favorite. I don’t know which part I love more, that I’m a porcupine or that my money is flying away on wings. Does this mean the value of the yuan is rising?

I should send this to my old chiropractor

I should send this picture to my old chiropractor. I’m sure he’d love to have it framed for his office.

Road to the clinic

Evidently the road to my headache clinic wound through the mountains. And I drove there with with my head out the car window. On the wrong side of the car.


This image is the best actual depiction of what I went through. That look on my face? That was TOTALLY how I felt after a year of all these effing tests the told me nothing worthwhile.


It’s interesting that the massage therapist is depicted as being Chinese, whereas the acupuncturist was somewhat indistinct. It makes me wonder how they translated my thoughts on Eastern medicine, and what any Chinese readers will think of my views on Western and Eastern medicines. At least it looks like I’m having a good time!


Here is the other image that is tied as my favorite. I think I’ve found a new profile picture! I love the swirligig eyes!

Run, Jennette. Run!

I like how triumphant this picture is, but I’m probably running away because the clinic HAS AN ARM. Creepy!

So there you go! The story of my life in images. If the illustrator of this book ever stumbles upon this post, I want him or her to know that in all honesty I love, love, LOVE, these images. No sarcasm. I love it in the same way I love the opening of Katamari Damacy or the Mr. Sparkle commercial from The Simpsons. I love that there is some weird, alterna-world version of my book out there. I can tell that the illustrator really did read the book, or they at least received notes from someone who did. I’m particularly charmed that the girl looks sort of like me, so I’m guessing they had my author photo to work off of. If not, good guess you guys!

I had been having a rather crap day because my headache has been partying rather hard in anticipation of its four-year anniversary in two days, but as soon as I got this book I was instantly ecstatic. It made my day. My week. Hell, it made my month. It is truly one of the most awesome things I have ever received. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I’m not sure where in China this book will be available. I’d like to imagine it in bookstores or airports or little news stands. Maybe workers at Foxconn will read it in their barracks while they’re suffering from horrible headaches caused by those toxic chemicals they inhale so we can buy iPhones at affordable prices. I dunno.

I do know that I absolutely love this interpretation of my work. I love that you read it backwards, like a Japanese manga. I love that there’s a bizarre clip art image of an angry man on the cover trying to eat the title. I love that there is an ad for a book on how to pass the GMAT on the inner flap. I love it all.

Someone on Twitter suggested I have these images framed, and I am so down with that. I received six copies, so I can cut one up in the name of home decor. It looks like this might be the purchase page on the Chinese publisher’s web site if you’re dying to get a copy. I’m sure they’d be happy to watch your money fly toward them on wings.

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  1. fd says

    Congrats, this is totally awesome! I would be really happy too.

    It strikes me as weird that they put a man on the cover though.

  2. says

    BEST ILLUSTRATIONS EVER! I too would be thrilled to see my life depicted this way. You are so lucky! When you get them framed and hung, be sure to take a picture so we can see how it came out. What fun!!

  3. Amy says

    Oh my god, tears!!! I am laughing so hard! They are AWESOME!

    You appear to be quite pregnant in the MRI (?) machine, too!

    I can’t believe you have had a headache for nearly 4 years. I can’t begin to imagine how awful it is for you :(

  4. Amy G says

    I love the illustrations! That has to be the coolest thing I have ever seen.
    Having read your book, I agree that someone put alot of thought into the drawings.
    Congrats on being published in China.

  5. Chrissy says

    I wonder if there are no chiropractors in China? Or in the area where the illustrator lives…[bc the illustrator’s idea of chiropractic care is quite humorous.

    I can see why you got a headache driving to the clinic. Haha

    But they drew you pregnant in the MRI picture…

    Very cool package to receive!! I can just see you all curled up with your book taking it all in. And then calling your Mom. :)

  6. Lulu says

    Hiya, I don’t think this book is meant for China, it uses Traditional Chinese characters instead of Simplified Chinese characters used by Communist China. Probably this translation will be sold in Taiwan, Chinatowns in other countries, etc. Can’t wait for your book to be published in China though! :)

  7. Mom says

    Chrissy, that is what she did. I came home from work to hear her message on the answering machine with giggles interspersed throughout. I called her back and we had a great laugh together as she described the illustrations. The visuals are even funnier!!!

  8. says

    I’ve had this post in my inbox for awhile and kept forgetting to look at it, I’m so glad I did! This is so funny! So I presume you still get paid as people in China buy the book, right? How cool is that! Way better than Valentine lovin’. Sorry the headache is in a bad mood.

    Have you tried…yea, just kidding. I read the book. Though clearly I didn’t need to read the book, I could have just waited for the illustrated version!

  9. Rebecca in SoCal says

    Awesome. Really.

    The tests, though…(the look on your face when the tests told you nothing). I’m trying to decide whether I like my doctor’s thoroughness or dislike her “let’s try every test we can” when I went to her with a painless ankle swollen to the size of a softball. Thank the gods I have good insurance, because I had x-rays, physical therapy, ultrasound,and MRI, all to diagnose water retention. Am I happy to know it’s nothing serious, or irritated at the tests?

  10. JenFul says

    @Rebecca in SoCal – I think they partly do it to avoid getting sued for malpractice, but what I dislike more than any personal irritation is that all the unnecessary testing is part of the reason health care costs are rising. Of course, if you’re the person who gets diagnosed by an extra test, you probably don’t care :)

    @Everyone – BTW, the reason I look pregnant in on of the pictures is because the CT tech almost forgot to ask me if I was pregnant before exposing me to x-rays. I made a joke about it in the book. That’s one of the reasons I know the illustrator actually read the book, because it’s a rather small detail.

  11. says

    It really goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I am sorry to hear that the headache is still there.

    However, these illustrations are fabulous. You should demand that the next English edition includes them. My personal favourite is the IV stand one.

  12. says

    oh my gosh!! This is the funniest thing EVER!!! I want to write a book just so I can get illustrations like this. The noose! The porcupine quills! Hahaha! LOVE!

  13. courtney says

    OMG. Who would have though that to my pipe-dream list of supercool things to happen (ending up in a New Yorker cartoon; ending up as the answer to a crossword) I should add “have book translated/illustrated in Chinese”? Love it. You MUST frame.

  14. says

    Those are definitely the BEST drawings ever for your book. I love the idea of having them framed and in your house. “Oh these? Did I mention to you that my second book was translated in Chinese?” So so cool!

  15. says

    OMG! Having just finished your book today I am peeing here. Love it. Awsine unafgert! Or awesome imagery – if my cat were not standing between me and my laptop keys. (As a cat person I hoped you would appreciate that and I did not go back and edit!)


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