Tomine, Adrian


Drawn & Quarterly Publications, Montreal. 1998. 102 p.


It’s been a while since I’ve read an adult book from start to finish, and this was a completely different book than I usually read anyway. I start with that because maybe it can help explain why I felt the way I did reading this graphic novel.


The book is a collection of short stories all involving people with issues, simply put. There are twin teenage sisters who have nothing in common any more, a loser guy exploiting his summer job, couples who can’t connect or just plain make it, and a variety of loners, nobodies, and socially awkward people.


I can’t say for sure if I liked this book or not, if that’s not ambiguous enough for you. I like the idea of a collection of vignettes about different people in really average situations, because it’s quiet and thoughtful. However, some stories border on pointless or even painful to me. I’m the first to say I’m not a big fan of “dark” stories, and a lot of these stories are on the darker side, but there were just parts that rubbed me the wrong way, dark or not. I will say one of the best stories was the one called “Lunch Break” about love lost. It’s gentle and sweet and because it’s so understated, it is all the more touching.


Overall, it’s a noteworthy graphic novel worth reading if even as a short read between your major novel reading. I like graphic novels that focus on real life rather than super heroes, and this is an excellent example of that.