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AEIOU: Any Easy Intimacy Paperback – June 28, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Girlfriend Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Apparently, one of the side effects of dating Brown is that he draws a comics memoir about you afterwards. This work, originally published in a limited edition, is Brown's follow-up to his previous dating books Clumsy and Unlikely, and documents the author's relationship with his third girlfriend (a co-worker at a video store) in detail, dredging up some emotionally loaded details. Like those other works, it's drawn in a deceptively low-key, dashed-off-looking way, with one or two little square panels on each page; and it again focuses on the banalities of predate small talk, mid-relationship kidding around and angsty postcoital chatter. Brown and Sophia hang out, have sex, break up, talk on the phone about their relationship, get back together, break up again, make out, argue, etc. There's no plot and no resolution, just a series of snapshots of the moments of intimacy that stick in a lover's memory. Brown draws beautifully—offhand-looking doodles have a magisterial sureness. There are a couple of fine set pieces, too, especially a section called "The Long Pause Before a First Kiss." Ultimately, though, Brown adds little to his previous observations on relationships. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The misbegotten relationships that Brown began recounting in his graphic-novel debut,Clumsy (2003), and continued chronicling in Unlikely (2003), just flow on. Like its predecessors, his relationship here seems doomed from the start. Needy, awkward Jeff is tragically drawn to troubled young women like Sophia, who comes with sexual hang-ups and is a cutter, to boot ("I just don't believe in my heart of hearts that sex with you isn't just another form of self laceration," she tells Jeff--in bed). Again, Brown tells the story in a series of brief scenes of the couple on the phone, having sex, chatting in bed, preparing meals, and hanging out. AEIOU differs from its forebears in that the couple remains together at the end (an author's note indicates that the inevitable breakup has since occurred). Brown's shaky, awkward drawing style seems to spring directly from the shy, tentative character of the Jeff of the strips, with whose sensitivity one sympathizes while wanting, nevertheless, to hear one of his girlfriends tell her side of the story. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Aeiou
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions; First Edition edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830716
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.7 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Robert Hrabe on October 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wonder what this book would read like if it was the first Jeffrey Brown book that I read, and I wonder if I would give him another chance. Fortunately, I started with "Clumsy," undoubtedly his masterpiece, and fell in love with his work. "Unlikely" was good, but not as good as "Clumsy," which had an immediacy to it that was so endearing. "Unlikely" was more or less a continuation, except the girl he was in love with was unlikable.

"AEIOU" was painful for me to read, and I think it is because it is showing me absolutely NOTHING new. It's silly things that are played off as "cute" and "spontaneous" that just read as dull and contrived. Where the stories in "Clumsy" were drawn shortly after they happened, the stories in "AEIOU" feel like they were drawn in a lump when it was time for Jeffrey to write a new book. So he returned to the old formula and finally wore it out. It's a drag not being able to empathize with a character that you've empathized with a few times before. In this book, Jeffrey Brown does nothing but be abused by some new girl. It's almost embarassing that he just didn't keep this story to himself, and the fact that he thought it warranted an entire book is frustrating. Or maybe Top Shelf was breathing down his neck and he just churned it out to make them happy.

Fortunately, I think he said this was the last in his trilogy of break-up stories which is a relief. Jeffrey Brown was the one who got me into comics, and I honestly think that "Clumsy" should be read by anyone and everyone. Also check out "Unlikely," his superhero homage/parody "Bighead," and his mini comics, which are pretty great too.
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Format: Paperback
This book is so beautiful. It's simple yet complex because it describes a relationship between two people that is so real it's almost scary. Jeffrey manages to make this relationship seem just like the ones you've been in with his witty, funny, little comedic drawings. I related to this book so well and I read it right after I broke up with my boyfriend of over a year. It made me cry, and it made me smile. It did lots of things to me. I've read several of Jeffrey's books and each and every one is like a piece of gold. He is my favorite author because no book in the entire world except for the perks of being a wallflower has made me so overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings. :) I don't understand how anyone could find this book to be boring. Even my 27 year old brother who practically never reads for enjoyment loved this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Having read Clumsy and Unlikely before this title, I had already seen the best Brown has to offer as far as "slice of life" romance stories are concerned. AEIOU doesn't conclude quite as well as his other stories and anyone who has read his other books of this style might find AEIOU to be slightly less cohesive in terms of storytelling. Regardless, Brown's ability to convey hopeless romance via little gestures and phrases is second to none. Definitely recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I guess much like some relationships, I felt like this book ended a bit abruptly.

It is definitely a book that everyone can relate to, although I couldn't help but feel like it could've been more finished.

I enjoyed it. It was a quick read. It will make you feel like you and those close to you are a little closer to "normal."

Nothing stands out as "WOW" "Oh my" "Boom" or I learned ...this from the book, but it was an entertaining peek into the window of two other peoples lives and their relationship.
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Format: Paperback
I love this book so much. It even had the power to bring tears to my eyes because I could relate to the characters in the book so well. I am surprised that a comic book has caused me to feel so many emotions! Jeffrey brown is truly talented and I am surprised this book doesn't have higher ratings. I love ALL of his books this one is definitely one of my favorites.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not exactly sure why I decided to give Jeffrey Brown another chance. I've tried some of his other Top Shelf publications and couldn't get into them. I'll admit, I'm a bit of a snob, and I like clean cartooning with a well-defined style. Brown draws in an extremely rough manner that looks unfinished, from the shaky panel borders all the way in to the pinched, sloppy lettering. My predisposition was to dislike Brown's work on a shallow glance, despite all the people who told me his writing was excellent.

So, it's with no small surprise that I will now saw I really enjoyed ANY EASY INTIMACY. The emotion of this book clicked with me in ways I would have never expected. Brown tells a disjointed, autobiographical story of his relationship with Sophie, a somewhat neurotic graduate student. It's a warts-and-all confession, chronicling their ups and downs as a couple. With no substantial outside narration, there is no blame dropped at anyone's feet, only the reader's reaction to the characters' actions. One feels for Brown as he is repeatedly jerked around, but we also grow frustrated with his often inappropriate responses. Which isn't to say ANY EASY INTIMACY is some kind of downer. Things are good for the bulk of the book as Brown lovingly details the pair's idiosyncrasies and how their relationship is defined by the way those quirks fit together. It's romantic in its own odd way.

There were still hurdles to my enjoying this graphic novel. The art is just as woefully inadequate as I remembered, and it took me about a quarter of the book to get past the "sketchbook diaries" style. Even after I did, I groaned at some of the cloying sweetness of the moments Brown chose to show, which reminded me of cartoon diary pioneer James Kochalka's hamfisted strips about love.
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