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In one of the best graphic novels published in recent years, Chester Brown tells the story of his alienated youth in an almost detached, understated manner, giving the book an eerie, dream-like quality. For the new 2002 definitive softcover edition Brown has designed new layouts for the entire book, using "white" panel backgrounds instead of the black pages of the first ed In one of the best graphic novels published in recent years, Chester Brown tells the story of his alienated youth in an almost detached, understated manner, giving the book an eerie, dream-like quality. For the new 2002 definitive softcover edition Brown has designed new layouts for the entire book, using "white" panel backgrounds instead of the black pages of the first edition.


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In one of the best graphic novels published in recent years, Chester Brown tells the story of his alienated youth in an almost detached, understated manner, giving the book an eerie, dream-like quality. For the new 2002 definitive softcover edition Brown has designed new layouts for the entire book, using "white" panel backgrounds instead of the black pages of the first ed In one of the best graphic novels published in recent years, Chester Brown tells the story of his alienated youth in an almost detached, understated manner, giving the book an eerie, dream-like quality. For the new 2002 definitive softcover edition Brown has designed new layouts for the entire book, using "white" panel backgrounds instead of the black pages of the first edition.

30 review for I Never Liked You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greta G

    “One tear came. That was all.” The risk in telling stories about yourself, is that you open yourself to interpretations and judgments as if you were a fictional character. In this memoir of the author's teenage years, set in a suburb of Montreal, the illustrations are so minimalist, and the text so sparse, that the reader is bound to fill in the blanks. Chester Brown seems to be an archetypical awkward, introverted kid, who is mocked by his school mates because he refuses to swear. He also strugg “One tear came. That was all.” The risk in telling stories about yourself, is that you open yourself to interpretations and judgments as if you were a fictional character. In this memoir of the author's teenage years, set in a suburb of Montreal, the illustrations are so minimalist, and the text so sparse, that the reader is bound to fill in the blanks. Chester Brown seems to be an archetypical awkward, introverted kid, who is mocked by his school mates because he refuses to swear. He also struggles with showing his feelings and with engaging emotionally. The focus of the memoir is on his interaction with girls and with his (mentally ill) mother, and on the feeling of terror that comes with expressing deep emotions. The reader is never provided with explanations about his behavior and Chester's face is expressionless throughout. There are only occasional glimpses into his thoughts. What is really going on inside his mind? Is he emotionally empty? Or is it only teenage angst? The reader is left to wonder.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    A sparse but unhurried rendering of Brown's memories of being a teenager who ruthlessly toys with the affections of several starry-eyed girls. Actually it's not as bad as that, although Brown presents the actions of his hormone-riddled younger self with some severity. What really makes this graphic memoir "cooking with gas" (Blame my creative writing instructor from college for that Carverism.) is the seemingly secondary narrative thread of the casually cruel indifference with which young Brown A sparse but unhurried rendering of Brown's memories of being a teenager who ruthlessly toys with the affections of several starry-eyed girls. Actually it's not as bad as that, although Brown presents the actions of his hormone-riddled younger self with some severity. What really makes this graphic memoir "cooking with gas" (Blame my creative writing instructor from college for that Carverism.) is the seemingly secondary narrative thread of the casually cruel indifference with which young Brown treats his ailing mother. I Never Liked You is ridden with unspoken guilt over Brown's own emotional disconnect from the gruesome and protracted death of his mother, making it a meatier read than just an account of post-pubescent awkwardness and sexually charged wrestling. Affecting and brief; a half hour read with minor heartbreak.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book was like listening to a drugged out hippy recounting his childhood. He obviously doesn't remember much, so whatever he does is automatically soooo profound. This book was like listening to a drugged out hippy recounting his childhood. He obviously doesn't remember much, so whatever he does is automatically soooo profound.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I'd only read bits and pieces of I Never Liked You when it was serialized in the original issues of Yummy Fur back in the early 90's. This is the first time I've read the whole thing cover to cover, and I only did so because my friend and fellow cartoonist, Mari, raved about it to me recently. I'd always been pretty lukewarm on Chester Brown for some reason but Mari is right: he really is an amazing comics creator and a smart, inventive writer. His use of an objective, unemotional narrative voic I'd only read bits and pieces of I Never Liked You when it was serialized in the original issues of Yummy Fur back in the early 90's. This is the first time I've read the whole thing cover to cover, and I only did so because my friend and fellow cartoonist, Mari, raved about it to me recently. I'd always been pretty lukewarm on Chester Brown for some reason but Mari is right: he really is an amazing comics creator and a smart, inventive writer. His use of an objective, unemotional narrative voice functions in direct contrast to the often heartbreaking events of this autobiographical story and it works really well, underscoring the major story theme of unexpressed, repressed emotions and the resultant psychic fallout. Brown’s page layouts and fragile line-work also strengthen the book's overall emotional impact. Great stuff.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ill D

    Pathetic and genuine. A minimalist approach to style equates to the equally understated emotions of the protagonist (and author). Thin lines wrap around simplistic characters and the environment that ensconces them. What it lacks in visual adornments it makes up for in honesty.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Imagine, for a moment, the comic strip world of Charlie Brown without the whimsy. Take away Pigpen and his ever-present cloud of dust. Take away Snoopy typing away atop his doghouse or dreaming of being the Red Baron. No teacher going "Mwah Mwah Mwah". No crazy big heads. When Lucy steals the football away just before Charlie kicks it, no looney tooney somersaults in the air. Strip away, in other words, the cartooniness through which Charles Schultz filtered his despair, and what you're left wit Imagine, for a moment, the comic strip world of Charlie Brown without the whimsy. Take away Pigpen and his ever-present cloud of dust. Take away Snoopy typing away atop his doghouse or dreaming of being the Red Baron. No teacher going "Mwah Mwah Mwah". No crazy big heads. When Lucy steals the football away just before Charlie kicks it, no looney tooney somersaults in the air. Strip away, in other words, the cartooniness through which Charles Schultz filtered his despair, and what you're left with is the sad story of a lonely, bitter boy who more often that not ends up flat on his back, a black-haired girl laughing over him. I Never Liked You , a graphic memoir written and drawn by Chester Brown and excerpted from his longer series Yummy Fur, tells of just such a lonely, bitter boy, in just such a relatively whimsy free world. Here are a group of children seen mostly without adult supervision: Chester, our lonely hero trapped in his own skin, his occasionally present little brother, Gordon. Across the street, the beautiful and sometimes stuck-up Connie who Chester may or may not like; her sister Carrie who definitely carries a perpetually unrequited flame for Chester. And the requisite girl next door is here as well, a long dark-haired girl named Sky, who becomes as the red-head to Charlie Brown, a girl for Chester to miserably fantasize over. What's different here is that Chester, while working in a comic-strip form, is not interested in locking these characters into a perpetual childhood, like Charlie Brown or Calvin and Hobbes, and he's not interested in following in the footsteps of the cartoonish excess of those strips either. Spanning most of his childhood, from the fourth grade, when he and Connie shared the walk to school everyday, on into high school, where such easy intimacy seems impossible, Chester manages to work a kind of minimalist magic. He divides his life into those essential moments, and those essential moments, he pares down into a few pages of sparse, black and white panels. Such a stripped down tone, rather than lessening the emotional impact, gets at the naked vulnerability of Chester. It exposes the gentle fury he keeps locked inside--the restrained and confused yearnings, the silent struggle with the unnerving transformation of his body, of his desire, and of the lives of those people around him, including his parents, especially his mom, whose own journey ends up having such an impact on Chester and on us the readers. It turns out, not surprisingly I guess, that it’s possible to impart warmth and spirit without a wise-ass dog or an irrepressibly dirty boy. Not all hearts sing out loud after all, some go thump, thump, thump, silently to themselves, and all you can see from the outside is the barest shiver in the cloth covering their chest.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I find it strange that this is the most popular book by Chester Brown on this website. I feel like his autobiography works are poor in comparison to his Louis Riel biography work and Ed the Happy Clown and his other fictional work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    J. Gonzalez- Blitz

    Come on, EVERY female character in this book has some sort of a crush on him. Except his schizophrenic mother. ALL of them? Really? Is this autobio or wish fulfillment?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Agapi

    "My money back!" 2k17. "My money back!" 2k17.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Weng

    3.5/5.0 stars I Never Liked You is not a romance story. It feels more like an atonement. A biographical recounting of Brown's own experiences as a young man of perpetual nonchalance, what stood out most about this subdued but weighty rendition, was the author's delicate and downplayed exchange with his mother which proved essential to the ending. How Brown managed to provoke the reader's emotion whilst maintaining an impassive tone made this work striking. 3.5/5.0 stars I Never Liked You is not a romance story. It feels more like an atonement. A biographical recounting of Brown's own experiences as a young man of perpetual nonchalance, what stood out most about this subdued but weighty rendition, was the author's delicate and downplayed exchange with his mother which proved essential to the ending. How Brown managed to provoke the reader's emotion whilst maintaining an impassive tone made this work striking.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joey Shapiro

    very conflicted!! I did really enjoy this breezy lil graphic novel memoir but it made me SO frustrated because teenage Chester Brown is the worst !!! All the conflicts he faces in the book are 100% his fault because he is wildly emotionally unavailable!! Was also a little miffed that there’s not a tight conclusion and it sort of just ends abruptly. All that said?? I liked it and was very invested in it and all the different (disastrous) romantic entanglements Chester was involved in, which the b very conflicted!! I did really enjoy this breezy lil graphic novel memoir but it made me SO frustrated because teenage Chester Brown is the worst !!! All the conflicts he faces in the book are 100% his fault because he is wildly emotionally unavailable!! Was also a little miffed that there’s not a tight conclusion and it sort of just ends abruptly. All that said?? I liked it and was very invested in it and all the different (disastrous) romantic entanglements Chester was involved in, which the book largely revolves around. A solid 3.5 stars (his book Ed The Happy Clown is a 5 star read imo!!)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Gourlay

    Chester Brown I absolutely loved this one. Chester Brown's adolescence portrait drew me in completely. His seemingly distancing problem struck a chord with me. his inner battles of convincing himself to say the 'right thing' is a very true and accurate picture of mind and a lot of peoples inner turmoil. Events pass us by and we wonder 'If only I would have...'. Maybe then we wouldn't be cutting ourselves our tapping a vein. The artwork is simple but fits the format wonderful, same as the positi Chester Brown I absolutely loved this one. Chester Brown's adolescence portrait drew me in completely. His seemingly distancing problem struck a chord with me. his inner battles of convincing himself to say the 'right thing' is a very true and accurate picture of mind and a lot of peoples inner turmoil. Events pass us by and we wonder 'If only I would have...'. Maybe then we wouldn't be cutting ourselves our tapping a vein. The artwork is simple but fits the format wonderful, same as the position of the panels. The flow and feel of this melodramatic portrait is truly enhanced by the art style.I was actually stricken aghast when I saw his mother crippled and wasted lying in bed (pg162) and his reluctance to open up. A very powerful piece of art.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dominick

    Stunning minimalist autobiographical graphic novel, in which Brown interweaves the story of his growth to teenagehood and sexual maturation with the story of the deterioration and death of his mother. Profound but elliptical, this book has a lot to say about emotional intimacy and repression, without ever saying any of it out loud.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a story about an emotional maladjust making everyone around him miserable for no reason. I know Chester Brown also wrote a book called Paying For It about his experiences using prostitutes, which I really wanna read now, because it makes sense why someone this emotionally crippled would not only have to resort to prostitution, but would fail to understand or empathise with how it is inherently degrading and damaging for women to have to rent their body out as a cum bucket for money. In I This is a story about an emotional maladjust making everyone around him miserable for no reason. I know Chester Brown also wrote a book called Paying For It about his experiences using prostitutes, which I really wanna read now, because it makes sense why someone this emotionally crippled would not only have to resort to prostitution, but would fail to understand or empathise with how it is inherently degrading and damaging for women to have to rent their body out as a cum bucket for money. In I Never Liked You, you are generally presented with a picture of a guy who thinks of himself as 'a nice guy' who is his own worst enemy. He seems at times utterly paralysed with his own emotional dislocation, which seems to just cement more and more as he grows up, into this emotionally dead, permanently closed-off teenager. However, he still seems to see himself as the main victim of this, despite how much this negatively impacts on the people around him. He's horrible to his mother, whose greatest fault is that she doesn't like swearing, and is self-conscious about getting older and unattractive. She begs him to tell her he loves her. Which he won't do. And never does. Then she goes mad and dies. How sad for him. This self-indulgent narcissism sits at the centre of the story, with the rest of the plot anchored to it, swirling around it like a plug. It is the story of how this guy is the victim of his own life, like only comfortably middle-class, white men can be. While he seems to have at least the awareness that he breaks the heart of the girl next door, and messes around a girl he claims to love, and acts badly towards his mother, he still very much sees himself as the main sufferer in all these interactions. He likes to repeatedly point out he was teased for not swearing, and that he wasn't the most popular boy in class. Boo hoo. Break out the violins. As I say, there seems to be an awareness, but the tone of the whole book is of someone emotionally looking back on their adolescence being emotionally dead, so you never really get a real sense of resonance of these sometimes huge emotional blows, like the death of his mother. The recounting is as lifeless as the events themselves seem to feel. This is story of a deeply emotionally cut off man, played like one flat tonal drone. I would recommend you avoid.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    There is legitimately too much going on in here. It's a stupidly quick read, as a graphic novel, but I was angry at it every step of the way. Sure, there was the normal anger of watching the shy teenager who has actually overcome his shyness to declare his love for the woman he loves, but still won't act on it (you did the hardest part! Why not seal the deal?), but we are treated to what feels like every major event in this man's teenage years in the course of these panels. Of course, lots of th There is legitimately too much going on in here. It's a stupidly quick read, as a graphic novel, but I was angry at it every step of the way. Sure, there was the normal anger of watching the shy teenager who has actually overcome his shyness to declare his love for the woman he loves, but still won't act on it (you did the hardest part! Why not seal the deal?), but we are treated to what feels like every major event in this man's teenage years in the course of these panels. Of course, lots of these panels are taken up with immaterial stuff. Chester does not swear, for some reason. We are not sure why, but people sure to bug him about it! Also, Chester loves Saltines. This is probably something that has been written about in some theoretical circle, but as a reader it just seems arbitrary. Even without all these asides (and yes, you wouldn't think so, but the saltines are prominent enough to qualify), there's still the fact that Chester is hard to like. He's sullen and silent and not super clear about why. He doesn't express emotions. He has enough women seeming to be interested in him that his love problems feel like he's whining for the sake of it. And to top this off, the illustrations aren't particularly good either. That almost seems like an unnecessary gripe, but come now, how many panels of massive head with angular chin on stick figure-with-clothing body are we supposed to endure?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Swift (Featherbrained Books)

    I was not a big fan of this. I am a little surprised at how many five star ratings there are and the synopsis says this is considered "one of the best graphic novels published in recent years." After reading this, especially the written portion at the end, all I can surmise is that the author must think very highly of himself. Small moments from his childhood are supposed to be so profound. I'll excuse his relationship with his mother because that was quite interesting and complex, but the majori I was not a big fan of this. I am a little surprised at how many five star ratings there are and the synopsis says this is considered "one of the best graphic novels published in recent years." After reading this, especially the written portion at the end, all I can surmise is that the author must think very highly of himself. Small moments from his childhood are supposed to be so profound. I'll excuse his relationship with his mother because that was quite interesting and complex, but the majority of the dialogue was so contrived. And the artist came off as so rude to everyone around him. I am, and was, extremely introverted but I still treat others kindly. It went beyond just not being able to interact with others; he was cold and rude to others. Also it was a bit ridiculous how every single girl in the novel had a crush on the author. Even his own mother commented on his looks and I was beginning to wonder if this was how he remember his childhood or if it was more wishful thinking on his part? I mean, every single girl had a crush on him. It was a bit ridiculous. I did enjoy the drawing style though. It had a 70’s dream-like quality to it that I think fit very well with the story. This is why the book was given 2 stars instead of 1, as the style is just as important as the plot in a graphic novel for me. Beyond that though the entire thing was quite dull.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    Comics seem to be the perfect medium for the genre to which 'I Never Liked You Belongs': wistful while brutally frank confessional autobiographies that delve into the awkwardness and painfulness of childhood. 'Stitches' by David Small, striking and innovative, really made its mark here very recently, but others come to mind: Craig Thompson's 'Blankets,' Leland Myrick's 'Missouri Boy,' David Heatley's 'My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down,' Debbie Drechsler's 'Summer of Love,' Alison Bechdel's 'Fun Ho Comics seem to be the perfect medium for the genre to which 'I Never Liked You Belongs': wistful while brutally frank confessional autobiographies that delve into the awkwardness and painfulness of childhood. 'Stitches' by David Small, striking and innovative, really made its mark here very recently, but others come to mind: Craig Thompson's 'Blankets,' Leland Myrick's 'Missouri Boy,' David Heatley's 'My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down,' Debbie Drechsler's 'Summer of Love,' Alison Bechdel's 'Fun Home.' 'I Never Liked You' would be a worthy addition to a library of such works. Brown's panels, usually just a few on a page, are simplified and often isolated in white space, and give the work, which recounts his elementary through high school years in a Montreal suburb, an appropriately lonely feel. Like Small, Brown grew up with a mentally ill mother, and he captures the oddness of that relationship. 'I Never Liked You' didn't grab me the way 'Stitches' did, though. For my money, Chester Brown's amazing historical bio of Louis Riel is better.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean Duffy

    Delightful and different slice of young life about a shy boy who eats a lot of crackers, refuses to swear, and struggles with intimacy and relationships. The art is weird and wonderful--featuring alien sized heads and painfully thin bodies. As with Fun Home, I enjoyed the 70's flavor: KISS, David Bowie, Kung Fu, and Charlie's Angels. This is subtle and deceptively insightful. Good stuff. I want more. Delightful and different slice of young life about a shy boy who eats a lot of crackers, refuses to swear, and struggles with intimacy and relationships. The art is weird and wonderful--featuring alien sized heads and painfully thin bodies. As with Fun Home, I enjoyed the 70's flavor: KISS, David Bowie, Kung Fu, and Charlie's Angels. This is subtle and deceptively insightful. Good stuff. I want more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Never

    One of my favorite childhood memoir comics. I just read this for the second time, and it's striking how unemotional and unnostalgic chester is in his recounting of this. The only emotions are the emotions of him as a kid/teen, and these are exactly as inconsistent and situationally inappropriate as all the emotions I remember having as a young person. One of my favorite childhood memoir comics. I just read this for the second time, and it's striking how unemotional and unnostalgic chester is in his recounting of this. The only emotions are the emotions of him as a kid/teen, and these are exactly as inconsistent and situationally inappropriate as all the emotions I remember having as a young person.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Katsuye

    Depending on how you want to look at this book it could either be a one star or a four. I didn’t really much enjoy this overall but it wasn’t boring. As a story it is not great but as an overall piece it has its moments. It’s not substantial with meaning but it does show adolescence.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Bit too 'poor teenage me' angsty for my increasingly elderly tastes. Bit too 'poor teenage me' angsty for my increasingly elderly tastes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diego Munoz

    Another one sitting read. Quite interesting, although the main character (the author) isn’t one for words, so the dialogue can be sparse at times. The interesting points are the different memories he recalls, which do bring back memories to my own childhood. Although he was socially awkward, he seemed to get a lot of attention from the girls, but for one reason or the other, he didn’t have much interest in them. Not my favourite of his books, but not bad either.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Rylie

    another teenager based story. not very eventful but it is good to spend some time at.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aritra Dasgupta

    Numb. That's how this feels. Yeah this is very relatable for me idk why. Chester Brown is just a master of combining text and these simply drawn images. It all feels distant but that adds an emotional punch to it all. It's amazing. This is just how growing up feels. A lot of time wasted on things which don't end up mattering, hesitations, regrets, infatuations and so on. I can relate to that mother dying bit so hard. You imagine you'll go and give strength and be the like beacon out there but when Numb. That's how this feels. Yeah this is very relatable for me idk why. Chester Brown is just a master of combining text and these simply drawn images. It all feels distant but that adds an emotional punch to it all. It's amazing. This is just how growing up feels. A lot of time wasted on things which don't end up mattering, hesitations, regrets, infatuations and so on. I can relate to that mother dying bit so hard. You imagine you'll go and give strength and be the like beacon out there but when you arrive, it's all gloom and hesitation and then the moment's gone. Yeah this is, even if it's not as spicy a take as Paying for it, it stands on its own as a great piece. This is not very crowd-attracting, it's not particularly tragic or anything or really an all encompassing view of adolescence but the tiny microscope view of the personal life really enhances the emotional impact. Yeah this is very nice. It has metaphors and these moments, these pauses and hesitations which I found really beautiful. It's also incredibly short and focused. Really, no complaints. I can totally understand that numb feeling and Chester Brown is imo the best at like minimalism but emotional art. I liked how it just showcases what I considered a personal take which is basically, "the little things, the words, the lack of attention end up hurting the most." I can relate to not wanting to follow my parents' instructions, having endless stupid quarrels with family and then yeah. One of them goes and you look back and you just end up thinking about the quarrels and how you treated them poorly at some point or how at one point they became frustrated at you and said something mean and that just ends up sticking. I can understand not having proper definitive goodbyes, the frustration of love and being rejected and not being paid attention and yeah this was too relatable for me yeah jeez. Just a whole bad trip boy. So yeah. This was my 69th book so thought I would do a "can i get some nice in the comments" or something but yeah. Yeah. Update: like a few hours later, yeah this book was nice, but paying for it is still superior and tho most of it is amazing. Chester leading Carrie was kind of a dick move. Not cussing and all was also I get bullying but like yeah just fuck that shit bitch curse and lose the attention or something you righteous prick. He does subconsciously do this "Ah I'm such a victim" thing here, like fuck you show carrie more too. She isn't just this obsessed about you girl. Idk. Carrie was treated wrong, lacked a bit of depth and though the lack of resolution was realistic, all the women in his life being head over heels in love with him and caring so much for him feels sexist. It's raw so maybe it implies the young lead's sexism but hey still sexism. Also could have had more Gordon instead of the more thinking about sex bits and also Gordon's convos with him after mom's death and all. Yeah.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    Chester Brown is a hard Author to like. Most known and loved for Louis Reil it's dangerous to step out into his other works because of his obsession with legalizing prostitution. With this title I was pleasantly surprised, it keeps to its nostalgic prose while maintaining the level of art Brown is known for. Chester Brown is a hard Author to like. Most known and loved for Louis Reil it's dangerous to step out into his other works because of his obsession with legalizing prostitution. With this title I was pleasantly surprised, it keeps to its nostalgic prose while maintaining the level of art Brown is known for.

  26. 5 out of 5

    East Bay J

    At first, I really didn’t like this one at all. I have a thing about comic art where I expect or desire or whatever a certain level of artistic skill. Poorly rendered anything is seriously distracting for me and Brown is one of those artists. I know this is an accepted thing in independent comics and other comics as well and I like Peter Bagge’s work and Daniel Clowes but the art in a lot of independents was (and is) mediocre at best. Also, the narrative is completely disjointed, which was also At first, I really didn’t like this one at all. I have a thing about comic art where I expect or desire or whatever a certain level of artistic skill. Poorly rendered anything is seriously distracting for me and Brown is one of those artists. I know this is an accepted thing in independent comics and other comics as well and I like Peter Bagge’s work and Daniel Clowes but the art in a lot of independents was (and is) mediocre at best. Also, the narrative is completely disjointed, which was also distracting. By the time I was finished, however, I was impressed with the skill Brown possesses in expressing the thoughts, feelings and emotions of adolescent youth. His talent is definitely in storytelling and the strangely jagged narrative coalesced into a collection of memories from his youth. From the cruelty of teenagers to the difficulties of young love/lust to the dysfunction of parent/child relationships, Brown has a real talent with characterization and storytelling. I still didn’t like the art, though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tempest

    Brown’s appeal doesn’t lie within his panels, it lies between them. Within his drawings he lays things out in a very bald way, with a borderline bland rhetoric. However, the combination of style and words manages to convey a deeper set of emotions, one that the reader is forced to discover for him or herself. The quiet meaning behind this minimalist art is impressive both visually and mentally. He demonstrates how simplicity, how leaving things out, is often a more subtly powerful way of definin Brown’s appeal doesn’t lie within his panels, it lies between them. Within his drawings he lays things out in a very bald way, with a borderline bland rhetoric. However, the combination of style and words manages to convey a deeper set of emotions, one that the reader is forced to discover for him or herself. The quiet meaning behind this minimalist art is impressive both visually and mentally. He demonstrates how simplicity, how leaving things out, is often a more subtly powerful way of defining a concept than laying out the idea in a bold and overly concise manner.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    A memoir of growing up in the suburbs in the 1970s, in Canada, and learning how to interact with people. A series of clumsy, fumbling attempts to have relationships, when you're too young to know what to do or what you actually want. What makes this comic outstanding, to me, is its use of negative space. The panels are floating in a sea of black. This is a surprisingly effective way of conveying isolation and detachment - especially in silent scenes wherein Chester is sitting at the kitchen tabl A memoir of growing up in the suburbs in the 1970s, in Canada, and learning how to interact with people. A series of clumsy, fumbling attempts to have relationships, when you're too young to know what to do or what you actually want. What makes this comic outstanding, to me, is its use of negative space. The panels are floating in a sea of black. This is a surprisingly effective way of conveying isolation and detachment - especially in silent scenes wherein Chester is sitting at the kitchen table eating crackers, for instance.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I found this dull and kind of boring, and I didn't like any of the characters, especially the lead. I feel bad about this, because it's autobiographical, but I just felt that the main character - the author, Chester Brown - was cold and rude towards everyone around him. I know that he's supposed to be extremely introverted and that he has trouble interacting normally with others, but he just comes off as a jerk. I didn't see any real moments where he was struggling to interact with others; I jus I found this dull and kind of boring, and I didn't like any of the characters, especially the lead. I feel bad about this, because it's autobiographical, but I just felt that the main character - the author, Chester Brown - was cold and rude towards everyone around him. I know that he's supposed to be extremely introverted and that he has trouble interacting normally with others, but he just comes off as a jerk. I didn't see any real moments where he was struggling to interact with others; I just saw moments where he ignored others and behaved rudely.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    Adolescence is a painful, awkward time, and that awkwardness is captured here in all its horrible glory--romance with the girl next door (while being in love with someone else), an emotionally unbalanced mother who just wants her son to love her, being known as the kid who never swears--at the best of times, high school is rough; at the worst, it can be used to make comics as bitterly romantic as this one.

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