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Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine
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Summer Blonde

by Adrian Tomine

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6061316,110 (3.9)17
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English (11)  French (2)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I ran into this one at the used book store, and although I didn't really have the money to buy it, finding good graphic novels is so rare there now that they've made them easier to find that I had to snatch it up immediately. This hardback contains issues #5-8 of the comic Optic Nerve. Each issue is a different story, three of them of outsiders trying to make some sort of connection with other people, and one the story of an Asian-American couple struggling with their different levels of political consciousness/activism. Each story also has a vaguely unsatisfying ending -- rather than the typical American Hollywood type ending, these stories end more like foreign arthouse films -- very ambiguously. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, you will probably like these stories. But judging by the letters section in issue #9 of Optic Nerve, some people are really bothered... ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
I really enjoyed my first taste of Tomine's work in this small selection of shorts. I had mentioned earlier, they read like vignettes, small splashes of mostly character. I feel like flawed characters in fiction often have their imperfections glorified, and although I am not entirely against this approach, I enjoy how Adrian's humans are displayed as they are, and the reader is left to judge. I also enjoy his lack of of endings, or finality, it somehow makes everything seem all the more lifelike. ( )
  jakegest | Dec 24, 2013 |
Summer blonde, some are not blonde, and some just fantasize about blondes. There's too much teen angst and white-boy self pity in these pages for me to really be very enthusiastic about it. All four protagonists are losers who are just creepy or bitter enough for you to not feel sorry for him/her. The first two stories suffered from this the most, I felt like the artist was writing about himself. The last two stories are an improvement. I liked the 3rd story the most, because it was about an asian girl and not a white boy. Graphically, this stuff doesn't really do anything for me. It's pretty standard hipster graphic novel art, I didn't feel at any point like he really stretched himself visually to express something that couldn't have been expressed as well if not better with words. On the positive side, Tomine is good at the narrative ellipse. Overall I'd give it 2 stars, maybe 2.5 stars. ( )
  JimmyChanga | Jul 13, 2010 |
This book is the reason I am happy that the graphic novel genre exists. It's good to see people breaking away from superheroes and into actualy storytelling with real people. The people in the book may be flat, but they're not boring. They're the typical freaks and geeks we meet in high school and adulthood, they all have their issues and they try to deal with them as best they can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What's important is that we can relate to these characters. They're not some complex superbeings full of emotional riddles, they're the weird kid you saw sitting next to you in homeroom or the creepy old guy on the bus. We can relate to them, even if we may not want to. The worlds they live in are compelling and each stories ending was perfect. They gave a sense of closure to the story, but not finality. The characters will exists, will thrive, and maybe finally be happy. I'm not sure if the graphic novel format was necesarry but it sure didn't hurt. The book is a compelling work of fiction that serves to remind us that everyone is just a little bit messed up. ( )
  N.Nebeluk | Jan 11, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Tomine is a master of the arts of both cartooning and fiction, and he uses each to complement the other. His panels are meticulously, nearly obsessively perfect, and his freakishly accurate mastery of human facial expressions means that many times, he is able to forgo lengthy plot explication altogether and say it all with spare dialogue and a glance or gesture.
added by Shortride | editSalon, Amy Benfer (Nov 21, 2002)
 
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Alter ego: "A washed-up writer in pursuit of new material begins dating a girl who is still in high school. Summer blonde: " ... we meet a nebbish who honestly wants only to help the woman he is unwittingly stalking." Hawaiian getaway: " ... a lonely woman who makes hostile, prank phone calls in the perverse hope of connecting with someone ... " Bomb scare: " ... the class dweeb and his sexual initiation ... "… (more)

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