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The Quitter Hardcover – November 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140120399X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401203993
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Pekar's work, memorialized in the movie American Splendor, is an ongoing chronicle of his life in all its quotidian glory. Until now, he's only written nonfiction vignettes of his life as a jazz-loving slacker. The strength of Pekar's work is in his depiction of moments, but you have to read a great deal of it to understand the overall arc. This autobiographical full-length comic amends that problem, providing the missing overview: a searingly honest memoir of a smart but troubled boy who depends on quitting any time he might fail—a strategy that eventually leads to a near-nervous breakdown after he joins the navy. But Pekar doesn't dwell on his anxiety with the look-at-me tantrums of Philip Roth or Woody Allen—he's not that indulgent. Pekar's frequent artistic collaborator Haspiel provides the square-jawed, nebbishy characters, drawn with a fat, '60s line, giving a sharp-edged sense of the frustration and tension of an immigrant midcentury boyhood. This book is full of the deeply flawed but sympathetic characters that populate Pekar's work: his hard-working but oblivious parents, an overrated tough guy Pekar beats up, the jazz writer who gives him an outlet away from being a street tough. Pekar's work dignifies the struggle of the average man, and this book shows how that dignity is earned. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Ever since the release of the movie American Splendor, Pekar has become widely known and regarded as a writer of autobiographical graphic novels. What keeps his writing interesting is that he not only continues to take new approaches in examining his own life, but he also collaborates with different artists. Here, he focuses on his childhood and young adult years. Teens will find much to empathize with, from his sense of alienation as a young Jewish boy in an increasingly African-American neighborhood to his struggle to find his place in the world. Pekar is his own worst enemy, finding discouragement in anything less than stunning success, berating himself, and quitting when things dont go exactly as he plans. That he eventually does make a name for himself, though it is an uneasy success, is a realistic message of encouragement that teens may find comforting. The Quitter is suggested for mature audiences, but there is very little to offend. The book itself is well designed, with a bold, eye-catching jacket and excellent black-and-white illustrations.–Dawn Rutherford, King County Library System, Bellevue, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

This is another autobiographical comic book by Harvey Pekar.
Johnny Heering
So I recommend the book, with one complaint: The story ends very abruptly, at a point where you really want to hear more.
MW
Although almost all of Pekar's work is autobiographical, The Quitter is the most sustained memoir he's given us.
Kerry Walters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Stone on October 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
So here's the deal: The Quitter is easily one of the most solid graphic novels I've read, bar none.

Harvey Pekar, famous for his American Splendor comics, as well as the film about him that shares the same name, is not the everyman that most articles predictably and laboriously paint him as. How do you refer to somebody who's been writing jazz reviews for forty years as an everyman? Or how about a guy who doesn't get to be on Letterman anymore, since he turned the tables on the open mockery of him one too many times?

I've read most of American Splendor, and I've enjoyed it, but it's rarely knocked me out. Don't get me wrong, it's some impressive stuff-the impression varying greatly with each artist who illustrates Pekar's work-but it's never been the sort of thing that I'd go out of my way to pick up regularly. The slice-of-life dialogue can really be killer, but it always felt a bit disjointed to me.

Man, Quitter kicks the crap out of that little stereotype I've been nursing. The usual 90/10 dialogue/narration formula is flipped over as Pekar writes about his amazingly interesting early life, from the heady days of his being the best street fighter in his neighborhood, to his occasionally debilitating bouts of inadequacy and paranoia, to his countless jobs and week in the Navy. This is no longer "slice of life," this IS life, and an incredibly interesting one at that.

This is the kind of autobiographical stuff I can totally dig on; this is a guy going through and telling us his highs, his lows, and all with a detachment that's not totally unemotional. When I finished, I felt like I had a way better grasp on Harvey Pekar, and a far more vast respect for him and his life.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Heering on December 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another autobiographical comic book by Harvey Pekar. This time, he writes about his childhood up to his young adulthood. He has written about this in the past, but never this extensively before. The title of the book refers to himself, because when he was a young man he would quit anything that didn't come easy to him. He had an inferiority complex, which he tried to compensate for by being "great" at things. If he didn't do as well as he hoped, he would lose confidence and give up. I could tell you more, but it's better to just read the book and find out for yourself. Oh, I mustn't neglect to mention the great black and white artwork by Dean Haspiel. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in comic books for adults.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bennet Pomerantz VINE VOICE on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
For every boy who feeled he failed his father..For Every man who lived in his father's shadow..For every son who craved his father approval and never recieved it..For those sons who felt the guilt of not living up to expectation of his parents... this book is your story

American Splendor's Harvey Pekar writes another autobiographical graphic novel about his childhood with his father and family. Labeled the Quitter, this brutual honest piece speaks volumes.

Its poignancy, as Pekar Splendor stories, are worth its weight in gold. With Dean Haspiel's art, thgis Pekar tale is given a new liveliness

all I need to say is that Vertigo books, who publishes this one, should do more of Pekar's work...and Harvey, when is another Splendor collection coming?

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Savage on November 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just read my first graphic novel and it's called THE QUITTER. What a wonderful introduction to the world of underground comics it was for me. I really enjoyed Mr. Pekar's plain-spoken text. Harvery shoots straight from the gut. But it's Mr. Haspiel's art that really brought it to life... transporting me straight to 1950's Cleveland. It's a terrific book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although almost all of Pekar's work is autobiographical, The Quitter is the most sustained memoir he's given us. Much of what Pekar develops here has been gestured at in earlier issues of American Splendor. (I was particularly intrigued to read more about the famous knife/chair tussle between Pekar and his father that took place when Harvey was still in his teens.) But The Quitter offers a fuller, more developed narrative of the first 23 years of Pekar's life than found elsewhere.

What makes this memoir fascinating for an audience wider than Pekar fanboys are the psychological questions it raises and the incredibly insightful artwork of Pekar's collaborator, Dean Haspiel.

Pekar's entitles his life story The Quitter for a good reason: his self-perception is that he's always been so frightened of failure that he walks away from any project or possibility that doesn't offer easy and quick success. Raised by a demanding, never-satisfied mother and a distant, moody father, shy to the point of incoherency around girls, paranoid when it comes to high school coaches (perfectly certain that they were out to get him), trying to establish an identity by becoming a street thug--but clearly conflicted in making a name for himself by hurting other people--taking a series of undemanding but also unsatisfying jobs, cracking up in the Navy, walking away from college: Harvey's first two decades attest time and again to the fact that he's a walking catalog of neuroses. Insecure, paranoid, self-handicapping, and obsessive-compulsive: it's not easy being Harvey Pekar.

But here's the thing: one suspects that without the neuroses, Pekar couldn't have been able to create the incredible art he has.
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