From Publishers Weekly
's Pekar branches out into a full-length story of someone else. This first-person tale documents the life of New York native Michael Malice, a fairly streetwise geek of frightening intelligence, if he does say so himself. Which he does. Numerous times. Malice's autobiography consists of a long string of episodes where he is right and everyone else is wrong. From first grade—where a teacher forces him to mispronounce a word in a children's story—to his string of nowhere temp jobs, he's in constant contact with people who are far stupider than he. The story gets much of its power from the shock value inherent in the narrator's unshakable confidence in himself. Dumping a girlfriend with leukemia, beating up on his intellectual inferiors, heaping contempt on those he doesn't agree with, Malice has endless energy for pointing out the faults in others. Still, Pekar makes him a compelling and memorable character, with his endless hunger for something better. Malice is clever and, at moments, surprisingly sympathetic—chiefly when he contradicts his own stated principles and derives intense satisfaction from the approval of others. Dumm, longtime Pekar collaborator, illustrates in his usual straightforward, quotidian style. (Apr.)
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The dean of nonfiction comics tells the story of a guy who is just becoming tolerable at the end of the book, when he snares a job developing a show for VH1 and gets all smile-button. Michael Malice has his excuses: insensitive, officious parents; dumb schoolmates; dim-bulb teachers; clueless fellow coeds; lying college advisors and professors--in fact, liars all around. But he is a jerk who boasts about his flair for verbal cruelty, gloatingly recalls every time he was right but suppressed (by his lights), and cuts no slack for anybody else's attempted diplomacy, fears, and mediocrity (they're all liars, you see). On the other hand, he is honest, scrupulous, and smart. Pekar nails his most salient qualities in the title, though. For Malice, it's all me, me, me, and I'm better than everyone else. (He's an Ayn Rand admirer. No, really.) Pekar counters his fascination with Malice, perhaps purposely, by choosing the rather ham-fisted Dumm, who makes every character look 45, to draw the book. One thing's for sure: Pekar isn't resting on his laurels. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved