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Ghost World Paperback – April 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dan Clowes described the story in Ghost World as the examination of "the lives of two recent high school graduates from the advantaged perch of a constant and (mostly) undetectable eavesdropper, with the shaky detachment of a scientist who has grown fond of the prize microbes in his petri dish." From this perch comes a revelation about adolescence that is both subtle and coolly beautiful. Critics have pointed out Clowes's cynicism and vicious social commentary, but if you concentrate on those aspects, you'll miss the exquisite whole that Clowes has captured. Each chapter ends with melancholia that builds towards the amazing, detached, ghostlike ending. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA?Eight interconnected stories about two teens. Enid and Rebecca have been friends for so long that it's difficult for either of them to let the other grow or change. Now Enid will probably leave their working-class neighborhood and go away to college and Rebecca cannot accept this change in their relationship. Enid is the more radical and dramatic of the two, the one who talks a male friend into escorting her into an X-rated "adult" store. Rebecca is not so much a follower as simply more circumspect. She's the one who reasons that Josh, a friend they're both guilty of provoking sexually, really deserves to sleep with one of them after all the teasing he's weathered. While the vocabulary here is raunchy, it is accurate for the characters. These realistic 18-year-olds don't always talk nice and don't always act nice but they do have moral fiber underneath their tough-girl exteriors. It's just that they're at a point in life and a place in society where exteriors are a lot more important than nice. This is a book with distinct appeal to urban high school students, but it's certainly not for their younger brothers and sisters. Depending on where your comics are shelved, add this one where the age-appropriate audience is most likely to find it. The artwork is evocative and tasteful and the book can serve as a bridge to more literary stories of friendships.?Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560974273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560974277
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel R. Bryan on June 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dan Clowes' graphic novel, "Ghost World" tells the story of Enid Coleslaw and her best friend Rebecca during the months between their high school graduation and the following October. The girls curse a lot, obsess over freaks and strange events in their lives and eventually come to realize their childhood friendship may not survive their transition into adulthood.
Clowes has an amazing ability to zero in on life's smallest moments and find in them a fragile poetry. He's also not afraid to make his characters fallible, and sometimes, in the manner of callous youth, even cruel. Enid and Rebecca dub a waiter "Weird Al" because of his curly hair, and play a rude prank on a poor boob whose only crime was to gain their notice by placing a pathetic personal ad. And yet you won't hate the characters. They're vulnerable and honest in a very believable way, and their emotional journey through their final months together accurately depicts longing and unease, their nostalgia for things the way they were, and their need for different lives. For Rebecca, it's to hold onto things as they are, and for Enid, it's to go someplace else not to find herself, but to become someone different.
The story's also full of humor and mystery. Enid and Rebecca inhabit a world of strange grafitti, of diners and run-down apartments where things tend to happen just outside the frame, or within windows. And Clowes' two-toned, semi-realistic, sometimes cartoony depiction of the various geeks, pervos and schmoes who inhabit "Ghost World" is dead on... the dopey expressions, the sudden crises, the need to feel something and the fear that accompanies that desire... it's all there in his characters' faces.
Reminiscent of Will Eisner's work (and just a touch of Charles Burns'), and with a hip, modern feel, "Ghost World" provides a truly amazing and unique reading experience.
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Format: Paperback
Seeing what was one of 2001's refreshing alternatives to the cinema, i.e. Terry Zwigoff's adaptation of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, was what prompted me to get the graphic novel that inspired the movie, and I was NOT disappointed, believe you me.
Most of the scenarios seen in the movie are in the book. The garage sale, the lame comedian, the "Satanists," the 50's diner with "Weird Al," the prank call leading to the fake date, the note on Josh's door, etc. Two of them involve different characters. Enid's visit to the adult shop has Josh as her unwilling escort, while the recipient of the fake date was an unnamed character. Seymour was the subsitute in the movie for both occasions.
The interactions between Enid and Rebecca are realistic and human, as the bored duo spend days looking for excitement. Towards the end, their friendship gets frayed, as both have different visions of where they want to be, and the differences between them become pronounced and explored. Rebecca wants to belong somewhere, but Enid isn't sure.
The humor here is more human and natural while being profane at times. Certain characters add to the laughs, such as the obnoxious John Ellis, a right-leaning WASP who endorses controversial views and people, such as a ex-priest into child porn. He might as well be a refined Eminem. He constantly taunts Enid whenever they meet. In one conversation, we learn poor Enid's last name--Coleslaw. Enid: "My Dad has his name changed legally!" To which Ellis replies, "From what... three-bean salad?" Now that's funny! Another bit: Enid: "Look how hot we are... How come no boys ask us out on dates?" In the next frame, she says "Maybe we should be lesbos!" to which Rebecca says "Get away from me!
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Format: Paperback
Okay so I admittedly didn't exactly recognize myself in Enid and Rebecca, but who among us didn't know others who did talk and act like this, if not ourselves? Here Clowes displays his uncanny ability to capture the essential young adult. Enid and Rebecca come out of the pages and grab you where you know you recognize them: Memory Lane. Daniel Clowes creates such realistic characters, that I felt quite awed at his ability and artistry in concisely capturing the awkwardness, self-doubt, angst, and plain stupidity/cruelty of the Teen. Yet he doesn't create portraits of these characters that are overly-bleak. There is a yearning you can feel the girls go through, and I don't mean sexual frustration, but a dire longing to go beyond that threshold of childhood into... well, something more than what they've known. It's not an easy or pretty journey to make, but in their own ways they attempt. The outcome includes misunderstandings, hurt feelings, reconciliation, confusion, and then, as naturally as they felt being together, they fall into separate paths. The movie is not the same as the book, but it embodies a similar spirit. It's honest, admittedly gritty, and Clowes captures well the outward decorum as well as the inward struggles of the Teen: great chasm between childhoold and adulthood.
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Format: Paperback
Rating: 3.5/5

Ghost World is a super-short graphic novel that follows Enid and Becky, best friends who have just graduated high school and, like typical teenagers, have no idea what they’re going to do with their lives. They are frank, misfitty, and catty (not in a Mean Girls kind of way, but in an alternative, we’re-social-outcasts-but-we’re-still-way-cooler-than-you-are kind of way).

Enid is the weirder and more vocal of the two. Every few pages, she changes her style, dons new (and odd) accessories, or cuts her hair. Becky is slightly prettier and more conventional and remains fairly consistent throughout the book. She’s funny and bitchy, too, but she plays the sidekick.

The beginning of the book is amazing. Enid and Becky do a lot of sitting around, just people watching and generally being bitchy teenagers. Enid regularly lets loose with random asides like, “God, don’t you just love it when you see two really ugly people in love like that?” (accompanied by an appropriately awesome/mean drawing). One of the book’s strengths is the authenticity and hilarity of Enid and Becky’s conversations about nothing.

The artwork (Drawings? Comics? Illustrations? I don’t know the appropriate graphic-novel lingo and a quick Google search didn’t provide a definitive answer) is impressive. In addition to black and white, seafoam green is the only color used. Nevertheless, the odd cast of characters (from the Satanists that Enid and Becky see buying Lunchables at the grocery store to the dorky waiter they call “Weird Al” at the ‘50s diner) are brought to life in all their bizarre glory. Clowes captures body language (posture, gestures, etc.) and facial expressions brilliantly.

But, at only eighty pages, the book is pretty sparse.
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