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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm bailing this town or probably more like hanging around, 29 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Ghost World (Paperback)
I read this over a decade ago so I thought it was high time to return to what is widely regarded as Daniel Clowes' masterpiece and one of the finest comics to crossover to mainsteam literature. I thought on re-reading it with my teen years behind me that the book would seem silly but I was pleasantly surprised to find the book still remains funny, clever, heart-wrenching, and compulsively vibrant throughout.

The story follows two teenage girls, Edie and Becca, as they contemplate the void following high school graduation and the uncertain future that lays ahead. The book is also a brilliant portrait of two best friends and their complex relationship and is a paean to friendships held in our youth, and how finding out our true selves and desires can break these friendships and lead us far from the people we once were.

Edie rages against growing up but can't help but drift closer towards it by filling out college forms, learning to drive, taking holidays away from her hometown, and moving further away from her dad and his string of ex-wives. She tries to hang onto her youth by finding old records she listened to as a kid while wishing she were in a relationship with a boy she doesn't know how to reach.

Clowes does a fantastic job of creating these two rich characters, giving them moments of pathos, levity, and reality. There are some genuinely funny moments like when Edie goes to the sex shop, the Satanists in the café, and the way Clowes inserts himself into the story depicting himself as this sexually depraved weirdo. And there are heart-breaking scenes like the final pages when Edie can't speak to Becca anymore and sees her through a window before getting on a bus out of town, or when Josh and Edie try to express their feelings for each other.

I felt that Edie could be construed as hipster-ish with her moments of over-cutesiness and quirky fashion choices but I also felt that Edie wouldn't care what label you gave her, she's that well written, you could imagine having a conversation with her. And anyway there are too many excellent points about this book for any hipster nonsense to overshadow.

"Ghost World" is rightly considered a modern masterpiece of literature, not just for comics, but for all books. Edie and Becca are perfectly realised characters and their story is real, haunting, relatable, tragic, and wonderful. Clowes' subtle storytelling and perfect layouts of the panels makes this story far deeper than you would imagine and all the more memorable for it. If you know anyone who scoffs when you mention comics, tell them to read "Ghost World" and then ask them if comics are all men in tights. It's easily one of the best books ever written about growing up and an utterly absorbing read.
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