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Unlovable Vol. 1 (Vol. 1) (Unloveable) Hardcover – February 23, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Based on a real diary that the author found in a Vegas bathroom in 1995, this episodic collection is an alternately hilarious and exhausting trip through the inner monologue and outer turmoil of overweight high school sophomore Tammy Pierce. Tammy struggles with body image (and body odor), pines for the cute boys who torment her, steals money from her mother's purse and spends way too much time chasing her next fix of French fries from Sonic. Given the source material, it's not surprising that much of the book is self-absorbed, repetitive and insufferable; it is also genuinely poignant. The highlights of the collection are the stretches where Tammy's situation is too excruciatingly painful not to be funny: practicing kissing with her pillow, not shaving her legs sufficiently for prom, dealing with a surprise hair on her chin at school. The art style is jagged in the extreme—sometimes it doesn't look like ink was placed on the page so much as thrown—but it's a perfect fit for conveying the chaos Tammy is so desperately trying to put down in words. (Feb.)
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Watson says this panel-per-page graphic novel draws directly on a diary found in a gas-station washroom. If that’s disingenuous, the protagonist’s voice and candid but awkward self-perception are impressively authentic. Texas high-school sophomore Tammy is overweight, boy crazy, and underdeveloped in social skills when it comes to dealing with her younger brother, her “best” friend (a skanky jerk), and anyone else in her small, nasty circle. Watson’s scratchy, turquoise-and-white art, reminiscent but not imitative of Lynda Barry’s style, amplifies Tammy’s physical and character flaws as well as her pathetic emotional life. Unlike the four Notebook Girls (2006), who are her age-mates, Tammy appears all alone in dealing with social and cultural nemeses she doesn’t recognize. Her insider perspective is just as shocking as those of the notebook girls. Unlovable is a fine example of how art and narrative can be combined to make a potentially trivial book compelling and insight-provoking. In particular, Gen Xers ready for an unvarnished backward glance at the concerns and the cruelties of their high-school years will recognize Tammy with stark clarity. --Francisca Goldsmith
Top customer reviews
Unlovable is loosely based on a teenager's diary from the 1980s that was found in a gas station bathroom. It follows the (pathetic yet hilarious) life of Tammy Pierce, a sophomore in 1985. It was first serialized in Bust magazine and this book features the collection with additional material. Readers get an inside glimpse into Tammy's school life, social life and Tammy's thoughts on the people in her life. There are also Tammy's "own" drawings and doodling throughout the book's pages. The fashion and style is typical eighties with overly done make-up, leg warmers, shoulder pads and outrageous patterns. The hot pink cover with sparkly blue glitter (even on Tammy's eyeshadow) adds a nice touch to the 80s theme.
Tammy is your typical teen, give or take some delusional behavior and occasional bouts of hysteria. She spends a lot of her time with deliquents and then wonders why she gets into such crazy situations. Even though I cringed at times because of how utterly clueless Tammy is, I couldn't help but laugh. Her desperate need to fit in, her obsession with the opposite sex and her stalker-like tendencies all make her a lovable character, but mostly one you love to laugh at. Though some of the drawings are a little repulsive (think dandruff, acne, Tammy's facial hair...etc.). they are all part of Tammy's charm (or lack thereof, seriously).
Even those born after the eighties (I was just a little toddler then) will appreciate its pop culture references and outrageous style. I especially loved the Teddy Ruxpin spoof since I remember playing with mine so clearly!
This book is so much fun - it kept me laughing for hours. Not only is the dialogue hilarious but the drawings themselves are really hysterical.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who was, or had to endure the presence of, an 80's teenage girl.