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La Perdida

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3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,506 ratings  ·  243 reviews
From the Harvey and Lulu award–winning creator of Artbabe comes this riveting story of a young woman’s misadventures in Mexico City. Carla, an American estranged from her Mexican father, heads to Mexico City to “find herself.” She crashes with a former fling, Harry, who has been drinking his way through the capital in the great tradition of his heroes, William S. Burroughs ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 20th 2008 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,101)
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Lilian
When I first started to read La Perdida I really enjoyed it because I was excited to read a graphic novel about a young Mexican-American woman. I also enjoyed the author/artist Jessica Abel's sparsely drawn images of Mexico City landmarks (and Pilsen in Chicago).

Unfortunately, as the story progressed I started to become uncomfortable with the authors negative portrayal of Mexico City/Chilango youth culture. Raw honesty I appreciate, but the author painted a seedy world where you can't trust any
...more
missy
I divide this book into two parts, even though it's not formally divided as such. There's such stylistic difference between them, it almost seems like there should be a formal divide. The first part of the book is a coming of age post-college, finding oneself while traveling, open-ended exposition. There's not much plot, just a lot of wondering around and talking to people. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- I really enjoy those types of stories if they're done right. But what stopped me firs ...more
carmie
Should be called La Dumbass. The heroine(?) of this novel succeeded in irritating me with her idiocy and horrible choices as no one has since....Ann Coulter?

When the drug lord offers you a sample of cocaine, the wise choice is to LEAVE, not take it! Sigh.

I guess I could consider Jessica Abel successful because she created a character who inspired strong feelings in me, even if those feelings were mostly annoyance.
Osvaldo
I don't even recall how I stumbled across Jessica Abel's La Perdida—probably in doing research on Love & Rockets—but I'm glad I found it. While far from perfect, the first three-fifths of the graphic novel or so are wonderful, and while it kind of devolves into a melodramatic plot that unfortunately reeks of stereotypes of Mexico, overall it is still strongly characterized and well-drawn.

Carla, the protagonist may be a post-college naïve-as-hell gringita prone to willful ignorance and drunke
...more
Jeff Jackson
Great texture about life in Mexico City for a young American expat circa the dawn of email, reinforced by detailed and fluid drawing that's reminiscent of early Craig Thompson. What begins as a slice of life narrative turns increasingly macabre, largely without losing its balance. Although some of the emotional outbursts felt forced and a few plot pivots were predictable, I suspect this story of self-delusion disguised as a search for authenticity will stay with me for a while. 3.5 stars.
Sarah
I have to say, I was extremely lukewarm to this book. It seems like the kind of thing I would like, but overall I didn't see what all the hype was about. The entire plot rests on the main character being annoying, stupid, and so desperate to please her 'real Mexican' friends that she throws common sense out the window. By the end, you just want her to stop white guilt whining about how HARD it is to be privileged and to stop trying to win the favor of people who she can never win over. The endin ...more
Sunil
Although it's not a memoir, La Perdida is based on the author's personal experience and is memoir-esque. On the surface, it sounds interesting: a half-Mexican woman goes to Mexico to get more in touch with her cultural heritage. It was pretty well regarded.

IT IS AWFUL, YOU GUYS.

I wanted to give it up halfway through the second issue because I was so bored. I just didn't care about anything! All the characters were annoying, and nothing fucking happened. Each issue seemed to be nothing more than
...more
Kevin
More than anything a coming of age graphic novel where the young person is not only the narrator but their identity and that of a county lurching into the 21st century. The narrative trips over itself a few times and the dialogue can feel a little set-upy instead of natural. But make no mistake. La Perdida is a huge-friggin achievement, amazingly drawn, so sure of its setting in Mexico City and place in time (late 90s) that it feels as much a diary or historical document. Or just a conversation ...more
Jonathan Schildbach
This is more like a 3.5 for me, but I'm rounding up.

In some ways, I think the format of the graphic novel is somewhat limiting to the subject matter, since it involves issues of race and identity, and what it means to be of mixed ethnicity--which is some rather complicated stuff to convey with simple line drawings, dialog and occasional narrative.

The main character, Carla, has grown up in the U.S., always speaking English and only English, but moves to Mexico City and gets caught up in trying t
...more
Maria
Leídas unas cuantas reseñas aquí, voy a acabar escribiendo sobre algo en lo que no pensaba mientras leía el libro*. Las dos principales objecciones que recibe son el argumento rocambolesco de la segunda parte (estoy de acuerdo) y lo mal que cae la protagonista -es decir, que es difícil identificarse con ella- a lo cual me sale del alma contestar un simple "y qué", no sé si con interrogación o exclamación o ambos.
Carla cae fatal. (Carla se da un aire a Holden Caulfield.) Es una mujer mexicano-ame
...more
Renee Alberts
Jessica Abel’s sizeable fictional travelogue La Perdida is the annotated postcard of the protagonist Carla’s visit to Mexico to find herself. As she navigates relationships and challenges, from disagreements with her wealthy ex-boyfriend expatriate, Harry to the difficulties of learning an unfamiliar culture, she also journeys through delusion, self-discovery and accountability.

While Carla is not always likeable, Abel’s skillfully expressive bold-line drawings and revealing dialogue keep the rea
...more
Sotoleon
Jun 12, 2007 Sotoleon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like identity-search type novels
Jessica Abel’s _La Perdida_ tells the story of Carla, an anglo-mexican U.S. citizen, who in an aimless sojourn in Mexico city falls into various situations and encounters a variety of people, all of which challenge her custom-made American identity. After a brief period of successfully (or so she thinks) acculturating to not only her local community (which include Marxist revolutionaries, drug dealers, and ESL students) but to Mexican society at large, an international incident occurs which ulti ...more
planet
as a graphic novel, i think "La Perdida" is a total success, the way the awesome illustrations tell the story and are supported by the text. i picked it up and started reading and couldn't put it down. brilliant!

unfortunately, the story lacked the depth and analysis about certain issues (class privilege, racism, tokenism..) that would have made it great. the clueless main character annoyed the shit out of me by making horrible choices and basically just being a total idiot. the story offers grea
...more
Sally
Love, love, love. Her gorgeous, messy, cluttered panels somewhat remind me of Blankets in the best way possible. I feel like if I could settle down and live inside a graphic novel, really inhabit the mind/world of one of these authors, this is the type I'd feel comfortable within. I'd fit in here.
Love.

Oriana
Shoot, here's another Jugs & Capes book that I never reviewed. This was #18, and I didn't really love it. The drawing was great, and the setting was very immersive, but I think I remember the plot being fairly predictable, and the main character being kind of waif-y and spineless and hard to root for.

But it's been awhile since I read it, so I might be way off base.
Initially NO
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
I loved the art and the way the story developed. I was expecting it to be more of a meandering autobiography a la "Blankets" (which I also really liked), but appreciated the way the strands of the plot came together.
Mabomanji
The book is a bit long and i got really pissed at all the characters, i barely had any connection with the main character and all her adventures left me uninterested. The drawing is hesitant and seems to change at every panel. Making a book about Mexico and how a young girl had cool expectations and refused to let herself be discouraged by all the bad things happening there to in the end be the victim of said bad things is awful in a way of perpetuating clichés about the country when she was the ...more
Bob
I started reading this book because I enjoyed Jessica Abel's "Life Sucks" and true to her talent, I was hooked as soon as I picked it and flipped the pages.

There are bits and pieces of the story that seems to me more like a caricature of characters, bordering on the ridiculous and immature. Yet, being a non-white person of a somewhat third world origin myself, having gone through (or seen and heard) of some of the things in the story, I come to accept that all of the characters could exist in re
...more
Bluestockingirl
I really enjoyed this (obv with the 4 star rating) (view spoiler) ...more
Sharm Alagaratnam
The graphic novel La Perdida by Jessica Abel (check her cool website by the way) follows Carla, a naïve American girl who moves to Mexico City in the hopes of finding her Mexican roots (her estranged father is Mexican) and presumably in the process jazzing up her life.

Carla doesn't speak Spanish and has never previously visited when she first arrives, but vigorously sets about trying to differentiate and distinguish herself from the American expat community. Maddeningly for her she is never full
...more
Raina
I can't really believe I'm only reading this now, especially since GN travelogues are one of my purported interests. For the first half of the book I had the impression that it was barely fictionalized autobiography, but soon figured out that it's a more fully invented true graphic novel. This is the story of a girl trying to imbed herself in the culture of Mexico. She is half-Mexican, but barely speaks the language when she goes to "visit" a former fling and "forgets" to make her flight out of ...more
Kathleen
only half way through but gonna make my notes right now.

I am so absorbed and impressed with this book! Probably not least because it so well reflects my own experience with living abroad (probably going to create some kind of collection for books I've read that are about the expat experience... I am increasingly in awe at how many similarities there are across the different accounts of young people going to live in another country-- the mistakes and travails and joys-- honestly I think everyone
...more
Rachael Quinn
Another graphic novel that I just pulled off the shelf without knowing anything about it and another good one at that.

Carla is half Mexican and half American. When an ex-boyfriend moved to Mexico, she decided to go too and find the other half of her roots. Carla leaves with little money and no real plans except to see everything that she can see. She has a ticket home but she doesn't really plan on going back. She shows up on Harry's doorstep with no real plan, knowing that she intends to live w
...more
Mel
I did enjoy this book to start with, though it felt a little unfair on the beats. A young woman moves to Mexico City to find herself. She quickly gets fed up with the expat community and despite doing all the tourist things herself, wants to experience Mexican culture first hand. It is interesting to see how she repeatedly fails to fit in. How she's so judgemental and how her brother is able to effortlessly move into Mexican culture and is able to find the cool hangouts and fun things to do. Wha ...more
Paul
Jessica Abel skillfully tells the somewhat frustrating story of Carla, an American ex-pat in Mexico City who slowly gets trapped by that city's darker side.

I enjoy a book with flawed, realistic characters, but this one takes that almost too far. We watch Carla make one bad decision after another, and alienating one friend after another, and willfully refusing to see the mounting evidence in front of her face that her life is going off the edge, all in an close-minded attempt to be more authentic
...more
Neylin Muneton
The book La Perdida is a very interesting book that people can relate to. This book starts out showing how the main character named Carla is in Mexico and doesn’t really understand what people are trying to tell her. The main reason why Carla is over there is because her father is from there and she is trying to see what it is like over there. And trying to see who she is herself, but she faces some problems for example she can barley communicate with the people there, she runs into her formal ...more
Kirsten
This fantastic graphic novel follows the adventures of a young woman named Carla who embarks on a somewhat misguided journey to Mexico in search of her roots. While she is half Mexican, Carla quickly discovers that her class and cultural background make it impossible for her to ever truly be accepted and fit in with her Mexican friends. Despite this, Carla rejects her ex-pat friends and falls in with Memo, a communist pseudo-intellectual, and his attractive but dim friend Oscar.
Carla's innocence
...more
Shelly
Interesting read. Also a bit different from other books I've read in the genre like Blankets, Fun House, Epileptic, etc. which tend to be autobiographical. I was expecting a true story.
In any event I enjoyed it. The very beginning starts out w/ the main character, Carla, still in Chicago. She's sitting on the subway making her way to the Mexican part of town. At first I was like "hey, I've been there!" and it was cool. Then I remembered what a miserable time I had walking around for three hours
...more
Jessica
Jun 12, 2008 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: brian gottlieb
I'd seen an excerpt of 'La Perdida' at an exhibit on the Graphic Novel Art in nearby West Stockbridge (Norman Rockwell Museum) some months ago and was intrigued. A graphic novel about Mexico City by someone named Jessica? How could I resist?! And then yesterday, while trying to hunt down a copy of the 'Savage Detectives,' I found "La Perdida" (The Lost One). So my interest and expectations were high...and for the most part, Abel satisfies them. The drawings are fluid and natural-seeming as is th ...more
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Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novelLa Perdida(Pantheon Books) as well as two textbooks about making comics,Drawing Words & Writing PicturesandMastering Comics(First Second Books), written in collaboration with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden. She's also the co-writer of the graphic novelLife Sucks.
Previously, she publishedSoundtrackandMirror, Window(F
...more
More about Jessica Abel...
Life Sucks Drawing Words and Writing Pictures Soundtrack: Short Stories '90-'96 Radio: An Illustrated Guide Mirror, Window: Artbabe Coll.

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