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Little Things: A Memoir in Slices Paperback – April 1, 2008
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From Publishers Weekly
A comics memoirist in the slightly worn-out quotidian mode pioneered by Harvey Pekar, Brown has already produced a series of books about his relationships with women. This one's a bit more scattered—it's a collection of short pieces about the last two years of Brown's life, including some medical troubles, a camping trip, various interactions with his cat and a lot of not-particularly-momentous conversations with friends. It doesn't quite cohere into a narrative, although the final section, A Little Piece of Myself, gives his relationship stories some closure, showing Brown as a new dad meeting his girlfriend's father. Like his earlier autobiographical books, Little Things is drawn in quick pen doodles—Brown's big-headed, stubbly, emotionally fraught self-caricature appears in almost every panel, and he loads his images with evocative physical details. The ultra-casual style occasionally pays off in comedy, as when he captions a scribbled sketch of a driver who hit his friend's car actual expression may have been smarmier than appears. But a handful of his anecdotes veer into tedious accounts of his life as a cartoonist, and most of them ramble aimlessly for too long; his ability to minutely recall his experiences of various kinds of day-to-day ennui doesn't make them interesting. (Apr.)
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"Jeffrey Brown is one of my favorite graphic memoirists. And one of the funniest. Each book is like another glimpse into one of the best diaries anyone anywhere is keeping."
-- Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil
"If I were Pippi Longstocking, Jeffrey Brown's Little Things is exactly the sort of treasure I'd plant in a hollow tree, as a day-making gift for a stranger, a friend, or anyone who needs convincing that there's magic in the mundane."
-- Ayun Halliday, creator of The East Village Inky and author of No Touch Monkey!
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Top customer reviews
With reading this book after his others, i felt like with this one, it made all of his stories connect. (in a timeline manner as well) And it all made sense to me.
As his books seem thick in person, they seem so short when reading it through. It's always bittersweet when it comes to the end of Brown's books, but makes me look forward to his other work.
These are the important points that seem to matter to authors like Jeffrey Brown: an uncanny attention to detail, tone, and mood that turn the gears (and pages) so quickly. You might question the emotional weight of a book with an illustration of the author stopping to tie his shoes. This book, written after a trilogy of personal romances (Clumsy, Unlikely, AEIOU), and novelty classic comic-book-style art (Incredible Change-Bots, Sulk), is a healthy chunk of common life. It skims the real moments, and, like the title suggests, focuses on the little things we tend to overlook.
I found this book on sale originally at Borders for $3. After passing it on to a friend, then delving into some of his other books (Undeleted Scenes, Funny Misshapen Body), I remembered the thrill of zooming through this book when I repurchased it this year. What a fun book to read. This might be the definitive book for Brown: a perfect suite of style and grace.
This and "Funny Misshapen Body" complement each other perfectly.
Where the story suffers is that the move through timelines if often disjointed in places, transitioning from present to past back to present in what is often confusing. Where the story seems to fail is that there are no clear transitions in this passage of time. The reader is lost as to the passage of time and place with no clear indication of what might be happening. The graphic novel uses simple black and white lines to create the universe and life that Jeffrey resides. Jeffrey captures the world around him, from rescuing ants in a stream to his young son next to him, with simple and often elegant line drawings that show a deeper meaning to life.
Although the time line can be confusing, the story is an interesting experiment in telling a story.