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Unlovable (Unlovable #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  403 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A soon-to-be teen classic: loosely based on a teenager’s diary from the 1980s found in a gas-station bathroom, Unlovable details the sometimes ordinary, sometimes humiliating, often poignant and frequently hilarious exploits of underdog Tammy Pierce. This remarkably touching and funny graphic novel tells the first-person account of Tammy’s sophomore year in 1985, from the ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 23rd 2009 by Fantagraphics (first published December 15th 2008)
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Fun Home by Alison BechdelPersepolis by Marjane SatrapiMarbles by Ellen ForneyAre You My Mother? by Alison BechdelHark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
feminist, queer comics
11th out of 25 books — 8 voters
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Comics & Graphic Novels by Women
203rd out of 418 books — 384 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 889)
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Angie
Alleged to be a 1980's teenager's diary discovered in a bathroom, Unlovable is the story of Tammy's sophomore year in high school in all its awkward, cringe-worthy, uncensored glory.

I first saw Esther Pearl Watson's Unlovable comics in the back of Bust magazine. Her portrayal of Tammy, a dorky, hormonal, neurotic and self-unaware teenager in the mid 1980's, is perfect. It's easy to find Tammy's self-described life all at once hilarious, painful and familiar, even if your own teen years bore litt
...more
Raina
Totally in the vein of the work of Lynda Barry or Ariel Schrag, or Girl Stories by Lauren R. Weinstein. There's some kind of overlay that the creators found the source material in a bathroom, but I didn't really follow that.

Honestly, I didn't find it particularly likeable or original. Probably because I've read so many other things on a similar tack. The "panels" in this case are virtually always on full (though small) pages, so you have to flip every two panels. Gets kind of exhausting. Kind o
...more
Bonnie G.
Are you ready for kung fu squirrels, maxi pads, vaginas in a texas house, and the dreamiest teen obviously gay cause he likes the Smiths graphic novel ever?!? This is the ultimate "Found" experience-Ms. Watson found this old journal in a gas station and proceeded to be so inspired by her story she created a world of 1987 w/unfortunate belts, fashion, Anthrax shirts and the mall. While I had been hoping for more the stories she publishes in the back of BUST magazine, I did enjoy how each page tel ...more
Sari
i didn't know what to expect from this, but it was really great. so many parts that i found humorous were so bittersweet - tammy's experiences as a high schooler are so sad yet easy to relate to. john waters needs to direct a movie based on this immediately.
A.r. Daniell
So much fun to read. There are so many painful moments (of which I'm sure we've all experienced) that make this book great.
Jenny Devildoll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
So much fun. I am not sure if what is told to us is true, that Watson based her story on a journal she found in a bathroom, but it's a good story, either way. Often hilarious, often painfully so. Painfully familiar. You knows these kids; maybe you've been one of them.
Becky
I liked that this book was pink and had glitter on the cover. It is funny in short bursts, but not as hilarious as thought it was going to be when I picked it up at the library. Also, it's about as much of a novel as a book of Garfield comic strips is.
Hailee
Like others have said, it's in the realm of Linda Berry's work, but has absolutely no heart.
Arminzerella
Tammy Pierce is a teenager in the 1980s – she’s got the horrible sprayed-out-to-there poodle hair, the brightly colored makeup (think green mascara and eye shadow in every conceivable color), and the questionable fashion sense of the 80s teen. If you grew up in this era, you’ll recognize it immediately in this no-holds-barred graphic novel diary. Tammy is blissfully unaware (most of the time) of just how hideously revolting she really is – and Esther Pearl Watson depicts her in all of her gory g ...more
Sara
Wow! What a book.

This graphic novel based on a 1980s teen's diary that the author found in a gas station bathroom out West, and I can vouch for the fact that it seems VERY authentic as the unvarnished, unfortunate truths of adolescence are revealed to a (no longer) private diary.

The book chronicles Tammy's sophomore year of high school, where she struggles with the many excruciating moments of teenage existence, including no-good frenemies, hateful boys that she nevertheless loves, weight issu
...more
Kate
Entertaining graphic novel reproducing a semester in the life of an unloved 80s high school student with no real friends and no self-esteem. The creepy The Quigmans-like art fits into Tammy's character perfectly. Not only would the character have drawn this way, she would have LOOKED this way.

Lest you read this thinking you will have sympathy with Tammy and how sad it is that she cannot see how life will be better and she will laugh at her former self, I am here to let you know that she is NOT
...more
nic
I wanted to like this, but the totally unsympathetic, undeveloped characterizations got to me. I get the "found diary" format might not allow for a ton of development, but if it actually is based on found material then it seems even more distressing. To think that some poor girl, who had this incredibly depressing life, finds out that a comic book has been drawn mocking her entire existence and making her into a terribly unforgiving joke is just too sad for me.
Briony
This was the weirdest book that I have read so far. I initially picked up this book because of its illustrations, the lopsided boob to be specific, and found myself reading the book in one sitting. I think the title suits the book very well.

The main character, Tammy, is your typical teenager who appears to be trying to finding her place in society. However, she drove me NUTS. Her idea of sexy were outfits that were sizes too small and make-up smeared all over her face. I thought it was funny wh
...more
Vicky
I related to Tammy Pierce in moments like when she sneaks out of her bedroom window and feels this thrill, looking into the living room window, just knowing that her parents, who are asleep in front of the tv, might just open their eyes and look directly at her. She stays out there for 15 whole minutes before slipping back into her room, and in this full-square-page panel, she's holding her teddy bear and she's like, I'll never forget this night! LOL

I also laughed out loud at the part when her "
...more
Catherine
So many memories of my awkward youth. Changing in gym class. Wishing boys I liked would call and those I didn't would stop. Making friends with excited and troubled people. Giving things I wanted to people I wanted to like me. Wouldn't go back to that era of my life for a redo if offered fortune or fame. And the title is right. That girl really is unlovable *grin*
Grace Aspenson
This book was quite funny! A lot of things the ordinary teenager goes through; annoying siblings, friendship & boy troubles. I found it to be good, but sometimes a page wouldn't make any sense at all. The illustrations were good and fun to look at.
Desiree
First of all, I can't believe I even read this book! If you look at my list, there are some graphic novels, but most of the books I read are very serious.... Guess I really needed a change!

I found myself both laughing out loud and thinking, this is really stupid. There is some of both in this book. I loved the drawing, a rather unique style. I really had to laugh at the parts where the protagonist is wearing something really short and has not shaved her legs above the knees. You see black hairs
...more
Amy
Mar 09, 2009 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009, comix
The drawings in this book reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite's drawings. I liked how the illustrator was able to convey a range of emotions with this crude style, with hilarious results. I also liked how the text of the book was based on a found diary - awesome! I wasn't sure how to feel about Tammy overall, though. People were so horrible to her, but she didn't have any redeeming qualities to inspire a sense of sympathy in the reader. Maybe Tammy is supposed to represent the parts of everybody th ...more
Alexandria
I enjoyed the horribly draw pictures and cute little side stories.
Ben
Really didn't like it.
MacKenzie Wilson
Brilliant! Those who grew up in the '80s will definitely appreciate this. Honestly though, each of us, in some way, experiences the horrors of growing up in school. Poor Tammy Pierce was so misunderstood. She just wanted to be liked ... and we can all identify with that.

There's a page in the book featuring Tammy's mix tape; I laughed out loud because I knew every single song included by artists like Def Leppard, Breathe, Bobby Brown, etc ... oh the '80s. Don't deny it, they were a lot of fun ;)
...more
RØB
A reasonably quick read. A lot of what I like about the book is the package--it's small, it's thick, and it's glittery, much as you imagine the protagonist to be. Apparently it is based on a diary found while on a road trip, and for something that fits that description, it is actually pretty compelling. I found myself thinking by the time I was done, "I wonder what ever happened to the characters from this..." Anyway, very enjoyable, very, dare I say, lovable. Worth checkin' out.
Emilia P
Oh hey, do I want to read Lynda Barry book? Then why am I reading this? Ugly-adorable, awkward characters with semi-developed story? I would prefer her. However, the single panel layout of the pages and some of the weird digressions, continued jokes, potty humor, and just middle schoolyness of this book grew on me, so I can't say I didn't enjoy parts of it. Ten minutes on a one-page comic by her would be much preferable however.

Molly
Ugh... I alternated between hating the main character for being so pathetic and wondering if it was a parody of me. This was sort of like a train wreck- the art was not very appealing to me, but the main character was so unbelievably sad that I was compelled to see it through. Sort of like the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse. Evoked the same feelings.
HeavyReader
I love that this book is square. I love that it's hot pink with green glitter accents. I love that it's based on a diary found in a gas station restroom. I love that the drawings are kind of crude. I love that the characters are living through the 80s without realizing their place in history. I say there is plenty to love here.
Christie
I had so much fun reading this novel.

The illustrations were alive and wonderful, especially the details in Tammy's facial expressions.

Watson did a fantastic job conveying Tammy's awkwardness, so much at times, that you almost hurt for her.

I also especially enjoyed Tammy's doodles and poems.
Joanna
I sadly do not remember the much about the 80s. Oh, do I want to. Hair spray and leggings and blue eyeshadow and entertaining stupid movies and coke and crack and home computers and the president is a washed up movie star fighting like totally evil soviet russia oh it's so camp.
Laurah
This is a comic adaptation of a teenage girl's diary that was found in a gas station bathroom. 'Nuff said. This is a single-serve book; it only took me an hour to read it. If you're wealthy, support an awesome business by purchasing this book. If you're not, borrow it from me.
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