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Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  18,878 Ratings  ·  1,073 Reviews
Jimmy Corrigan has rightly been hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever to be published. It won the Guardian First Book Award 2001, the first graphic novel to win a major British literary prize.

It is the tragic autobiography of an office dogsbody in Chicago who one day meets the father who abandoned him as a child. With a subtle, complex and moving story and the drawings
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Paperback, 380 pages
Published May 22nd 2003 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2000)
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Estott I don't think there is anything shocking, but the content is heavy (in the thoughtful sense)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
Feb 14, 2016 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing

This is a five star graphic novel , so I am giving it five stars. However, I hated it. Well, no, I didn’t hate it, I hated reading it. So I am abandoning it with relief.

The great thing about this book is the brilliant graphic concepts which dazzle and delight on every other page. They are really stunning.

The unreadable thing about this book is its subject matter, which is the life of a miserable loner with a bullying father examined in very great painful detail. Rarely has a book been so origin
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Jay
Mar 23, 2007 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with eyes, brains, gasping capabilities
I'm surprised that GoodReads doesn't allow a sixth star for this book alone. I can not say enough great things about Jimmy Corrigan. Honestly, it changed my life, and I can't imagine anyone not being in awe of its mathematics, literally and figuratively. This book is like the Catcher in the Rye for graphic novels. It raised the bar and it will not be matched for a very long time. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Breathtaking and deep. Brilliant.
Dave Russell
Aug 20, 2009 Dave Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is my third foray into the world of graphic novels. This book compels me to continue into this genre. Chris Ware tells a heart-rending story of loneliness, but what truly captured my admiration was the artwork. He does a sort of stylistic 180 from the narrative. While the story is intimate and emotional his images sort of stand back. He employs repeated frames of seemingly insignificant details, such as a bird moving along a tree branch. He emphasizes the alienation of the characters by foc ...more
Kyle
Aug 29, 2007 Kyle rated it it was amazing
I love me some graphic novels but I don't pretend that the vast majority of them rise to the level of serious literature. Most of the time I look for the large number of books out there that are "clever" (as in, better than 90% of TV) as a mindless respite between novels. And in the case of ones such as Louis Riel, Berlin, or Maus, I get a little bit of education without trudging through a 600 page history book.

Jimmy Corrigan, though, is one of the five or six graphic novels I've read that have
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Kayfor4me
Mar 05, 2012 Kayfor4me rated it liked it
Imagine life eclipsed by imagination. The bloodiest, the most beautiful, the most vulnerable imaginings, and the disintegration of wishes as we make them. This is how life unfolds in the mind of Jimmy Corrigan, the desolate main character in Chris Ware’s graphic novel. Jimmy speaks full sentences—only when he imagines. In his mind he has courage, kills people, commits suicide, has sex, and is “the smartest kid on earth.” In his actual life, Jimmy is a spineless, aging man, with no friends and no ...more
Melki
May 07, 2012 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
I won't lie to you.

I spent days not liking this book.

Jimmy Corrigan is described by the author as "a lonely, emotionally-impaired human castaway."
You got that right!
He's also possibly the dullest man on Earth and Chris Ware does not skimp on the tedium. Panel after cartoon panel of people sitting in diners, doctors' offices, and hospital waiting rooms.
This is WAY too much like MY life.

Then we meet Jimmy's grandfather, a sad and lonely child, and his great-grandfather, who helped build the Whit
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Fabian
Oct 27, 2010 Fabian rated it liked it
I guess I understand why people may consider this a masterpiece. I, myself not a wholehearted admirer of the graphic novel, am usually very surprised by the narrative techniques and posh styles used in famous comics like "Watchmen", "Maus" &, most recently, "Ghost World". This one is said to "elevate the medium" to another level and it kinda sorta does: like witnessing Jim Carrey going from funnyman to dramatic actor! The story is so droll, boring, sad... did I really need this type of monot ...more
Geoff Sebesta
Dec 27, 2010 Geoff Sebesta rated it it was amazing
I read Jimmy Corrigan sitting in a Denny's in Florida in 2000, watching the Bush/Gore election returns. I just finished rereading it again today. It's nowhere near as depressing as it was the first time, but then, how could it be?

I remember putting the book down in 2000 when I got to the last page and realized the complexity of the joke that has been pulled on him, the author, and us. He will never be happy. It will never end, and never change. Superman is not going to save him.

This time it was
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Nick
Nov 23, 2007 Nick rated it it was ok
Well, the technical quality of the art is certainly good, and it's formally inventive and all that, and it most definitely does an effective job at maintaining and conveying a consistent mood- if you were feeling charitable, you could even say that there's something kind of magnificent about it's overwhelming, unrelieved bleakness- but when I was finished I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the point of the whole thing had been. On quality I'd say it deserved three stars, if it wasn't ...more
orsodimondo
IL FIORE NELL’URNA CINERARIA
È il disegnatore che ha vinto più premi di qualsiasi altro del suo settore.
Il primo fumettista chiamato a esporre al Whitney Museum e nel 2006 gli è stata dedicata una personale al Museum of Contemporary Art di Chicago.
Chris Ware è stato appassionato di Peanuts sin da piccolo, al punto che scrisse una lettera a Charlie Brown per San Valentino perché gli dispiaceva il suo eroe di matita non ne ricevesse mai nessuna.
Professa reverenza ed è pronto a genuflettersi davan
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Mark
Sep 14, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing
Incredibly sad. The impressive thing is most of the melancholy doesn't stem from overwrought, dramatic events but rather the eerily believable facets of Jimmy's life. The drab apartment buildings with neglected trees and empty parking lots, complete with a McDonald's arch in the distance. Jimmy eating a can of Campbell's soup by himself after stammering his way through a conversation with his overbearing mother. The shitty Thanksgiving decorations at the retirement home he visits.

Although the b
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Robert Beveridge
Jan 25, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it did not like it
Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon, 2003)

I don't think it would be overreaching to say that, even if it is not, Charis Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth has been touted as the single book that ignited the renaissance of popularity (and social acceptability) in graphic novels in America; it was almost certainly the first to be widely discussed in entertainment magazines and on National Public Radio. It took me a while to get round to it, and I'm thankfu
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Vale
Aug 22, 2011 Vale rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
E' una graphic novel costruita per gli appassionati del genere perché decostruisce il genere stesso. In realtà è molto difficile leggerla in quanto lunga e ricca di immagini che smesso creano confusione, ma l'autore non smette di prendere in giro il suo lettore e di ironizzare sul genere neanche un momento, sin dalla copertina! E la storia del povero Jimmy, ne vogliamo parlare? Fa male, ma caspita quanto è vera! Non potrò più pensare in futuro al concetto di solitudine senza pensare a Jimmy Corr ...more
Patrick
Dec 01, 2008 Patrick rated it it was ok
I know this is the graphic novel to end all graphic novels but I have to say I wasn't terribly blown away. It was well laid out and pretty to look at but was almost cliched in its portrayal of a loner. Meh.
John Pistelli
In lieu of an essay, some notes (with spoilers):

1. I both intellectually acknowledge the brilliance of this book and viscerally dislike it.

2. I bought it and began reading it in late 2000; I set it aside after about 100 pages and only took it up again—a library copy; I have no idea where mine is—two days ago. Back in 2000, when I was all of 18, I remember being immensely moved by some of those first 100 pages; Jimmy’s fantasy of being murdered by Superman, in particular, overwhelmed me. But the
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Gregsamsa
Jul 11, 2013 Gregsamsa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK IS MAGIC.
Nicki
Jun 25, 2010 Nicki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2010
Jimmy Corrigan is a self-conscious, mother-pleasing, middle-aged man who is still encased in the unshed angst of a teenager. After getting an invitation to visit his father, whom he’s never met, he sets off on what becomes quite a little adventure compared to his uneventful life. That’s Jimmy Corrigan, the character, in a nutshell. But Jimmy Corrigan, the book, is so much more.

Every time Miguel would look to see what page I was on, he’d declare, “You’re reading it too fast!” Indeed, with so muc
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David Schaafsma
I have read this 3-4 times but never felt ready to review it in the manner it deserves.. and am still not quite ready. This is a great work, maybe the very work that catapulted Ware into the upper reaches of the comics hierarchy. Ware, one of the 4-5 most influential and greatest comics writers in the world, started this graphic novel with the intention to do a summer of strips in 1995 for an alternative mag here in Chicago, New City, where is was buried where comics are usually buried, in the w ...more
Rebecca Foster
This is probably the most peculiar graphic novel I’ve ever read. It’s the story of Jimmy Corrigan, a sad-sack workaholic who, at 36, has no friends apart from his mother, who constantly telephones him. One day he gets a letter from the father he’s never met, asking him to come meet him. And so Jimmy gets on a plane from Chicago out to suburban Michigan.

Corrigan is one of those unfortunate-looking fellows who has a potato for a head and a wispy comb-over, and could be anywhere between 30 and 60;
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David Abrams
Apr 11, 2015 David Abrams rated it it was amazing
I've read my fair share of graphic novels (though less than I should), and Chris Ware is still the one who touches me deepest. I haven't read Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home," which has piled up the accolades, but for my money nothing can beat Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth" for sheer beautiful misery. Published in 2000, one year before our national tragedy, it chronicled the awkward, lonely life of the titular loser who must deal with father issues in the bleak midwinter of his li ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Nov 05, 2011 Brendon Schrodinger rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is essentially a graphic novel version of Confederacy of Dunces. The main character is a bland two-dimensional simpleton who has a depressing life. There is nothing entertaining about this story, nor informative. It is pointless. I cannot empathise with the character at all.

So essentially, if you thought Dunces was a masterpiece, you'll love this. For everyone else, steer well clear.
Anne
Jun 23, 2008 Anne rated it it was amazing
A friend, a physicist actually, recommended this to me after I rolled my eyes at superhero comic books. It's really great, heavy stuff. In just episode 1, Jimmy gets to meet his hero at a convention, who macks on his mom, stays the night, ignores Jimmy, and then leaves Jimmy to pass on his regrets/greetings to the mom.
The big plot, though, is twofold. One, how Jimmy gets re-discovered by his father, who had earlier walked. It turns out the father had re-married, and the story of that family is
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Samantha
Feb 07, 2014 Samantha rated it did not like it
I can't with this book anymore. I picked it up cause it was on Amazon's 100 Books to Read in Your Lifetime. I hated it so hard. It's depressing and confusing and even more depressing. I couldn't find any redeeming qualities for this book. It also confused me like crazy, I liked the "The Story So Far" part because then I actually had a clue as to what was going on. It jumped around so much between present, Jimmy's "daydreams", the past and who knows what else that I couldn't keep track. No thanks ...more
Nadja A.
Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth war ein kleines Abenteuer. Startete vielversprechend, dann zuerst sehr verwirrend über einen spannenden Mittelteil bis zum bisschen unbefriedigten und doch total passenden Ende. Chris Ware hat da schon etwas Tolles geschaffen!
Venkat Narayanan
Sep 11, 2016 Venkat Narayanan rated it really liked it
This is probably a 6 star book. It definitely needs a re-read, re-view and then a re-review. Even then it will still be a half-baked thing.Melancholic, funny and at points weird(?). So re-read and re-read and then probably I can rate the book. The 4 stars are for me, the reader, someone who needs to learn to step into Ware's shoes and look at Corrigan through his eyes.
Álvaro Galán Zapatera
Lo que cuenta este cómic es tan triste, tan lleno de momentos mezquinos, tan incómodo, que he tenido que leerlo poco a poco para no contagiarme de su espíritu deprimente.
Es muy bueno, y muy complejo, y en ocasiones su dibujo infantil da paso a una estructura de viñeta enrevesada, no apta para principiantes.
Es un cómic largo, adulto, para pensar y para disfrutar de sus meandros argumentales, de sus coincidencias y desacuerdos.
A veces se nota que hay partes que actúan como antología de las tiras q
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Vi
Feb 15, 2014 Vi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel is truly poignant. Flipping through the book, you find little superficial evidence to corroborate my statement. Which is precisely why you ought to plunge in and get past your initial impression. If you are looking for artwork à la Sandman or Kabuki, you may wrongfully judge the more simple style of Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Push forward and don't miss exploring his mind and emotions.

As other readers have mentioned, the pace can be a bit sluggish and due to t
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Erika Schoeps
Jun 10, 2013 Erika Schoeps rated it it was amazing
Goddamit. This book was an overwhelming masterpiece. I cried 4 times during this book, a new record for me. Despite the overly emotional reaction, this book isn't just a tear jerker, but a work of art. Dense and beautiful, this book makes you work for the heart breaking ending.

An examination of trauma through history, the background story hurts just as much as the main story arc, if not more. On top of juggling multiple story lines, Chris Ware also handles lots of complex symbols and motifs tha
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Matthew
Jun 12, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I love me some Jimmy Corrigan. The book itself is one of the most layered, nuanced things I've ever read. And while it comes across as relatively straightforward (a sad man visits his estranged father for a weekend), I have a feeling I'll be revisiting and unpacking this book many more times in the years to come.

The illustrations are beautiful in their blocky simplicity, and Ware's design is unlike anything I've come across before in the medium. Navigating between generations and realities, the
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Andrew
May 14, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Andrew by: m
Essential reading for anyone who enjoys the comicbook medium. The story is very depressing,like most of Ware's work that I've read. But I think the monotone emotional drone of misery is rather beautiful.
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CHRIS WARE is widely acknowledged as the most gifted and beloved cartoonist of his generation by both his mother and seven-year-old daughter. His Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth won the Guardian First Book Award and was listed as one of the 100 Best Books of the Decade by the London Times in 2009. An irregular contributor to This American Life and The New Yorker (where some of the pages ...more
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“METAPHOR: A tightly fitting suit of metal, generally tin, which entirely encloses the wearer, both impeding free movement and preventing emotional expression and/or social contact.” 10 likes
“I guess we all make choices as to how we want to live, right?” 4 likes
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