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Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  361 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
"Working has been a book, a radio drama, a Broadway musical, and now a gripping graphic novel. I can't speak for Studs, but I suspect he would have been tickled to see it adapted by a former government file clerk and wage slave, who knows all about working." --Roger Ebert In the thirty-five years since Pulitzer Prize-winner Studs Terkel's Working was first published, it ha ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by The New Press
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Joey the J in R.J. Spindle
Aug 01, 2016 Joey the J in R.J. Spindle rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-i-ve-read
I was in this show back in the day, haha, thus HAD to read this when I spotted it at the library. It brought back some great memories. The comic itself was a fair read. I feel like a LOT of summarizing happened, but it was largely done well. I didn't care for some of the art. It felt kinda thrown together. All minor problems though. Mostly what shone through was Terkel's marvelous work. Well worth the time.
Apr 23, 2010 Sophie rated it liked it
Shelves: chicago
I NEED to read the original.

The style of life I myself am familiar with is the quotidian. -Harvey Pekar

In others, you see a rhythmic smoothing out of the hand down the chair arm, as though to smooth everything out and make it workable; in others, there is a working of the lips or a steady rocking. None of these could be called neurotic gestures, nor are they symptoms of acute fear; they help the constant calculation. -Richard Hoggart

At the public unveiling of a celebrated statue in Chicago, a la
Kristen Mcchesney
Sep 30, 2010 Kristen Mcchesney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
While this is not a classic young adult book, within the graphic novel genre, this adaption of Studs Terkel's oral history "Working" would be a wonderful classroon resource. I have used a number of Terkel's oral histories in my classroom, in order to illustrate the historical lives of average Americans and as a general primary source. Students relly connect with the stories of peoples lives and it gives them a true persepctive that we all are a part of a larger history. This recent adaptation of ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
I feel bad admitting it, but this is the first I'd heard of Studs Terkel. After having read this, I'm quite curious about his work and journalism. Collecting oral records of everyday life is something I find extremely interesting--and compelling, and I'll definitely be checking out his writing properly.

As for this particular collection / adaptation, some of the portions shine: the artwork is wonderful, the words serving the images and the images serving the words in a perfect balance. However, t
Feb 18, 2011 Zachary rated it liked it
"But every once in awhile there's stuff that comes in on you. All of a sudden something falls into place. Suppose you're driving an eight-penny galvanized finishing nail into this siding. Your whole universe is rolled onto the head of that nail. Each lick is sufficient to justify your life. You say, "Okay, I'm not trying to get this nail out of the way so I can get onto something important. There's nothing more important. It's right there." And goes -- pow! It's not getting that nail in that's i ...more
May 12, 2010 Ocean rated it it was amazing
BRILLIANT. these stories (most of them, anyway) lend themselves perfectly to the graphic novel format. most of these are really well-rendered, moving, smart and enraging (in a good way). this book helped me get over the guilt i feel for not being a 9-to-5 office person (despite the fact that i am currently, miserably, locked into a 9-to-5 job).
loved it just wish it was longer! gonna have to read the original.
"I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly-line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people." (p. xxi, from the original introduction to Studs Terkel's "Working" (1974))

"This book, being about work, is by its very nature, about violence - to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the
From the original introduction to Studs Terkel's Working:

Perhaps it is time the "work ethic" was redefined and its idea reclaimed from the banal men who invoke it. In a world of cybernetics, of an almost runaway technology, things are increasingly making things. It is for our species, it would seem, to go on to other matters. Human matters. Freud put it one way, Ralph Helstein puts it another. He is president emeritus of the United Packinghouse Workers of America. "Learning is work. Caring for c
Dec 22, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it
I wasn't getting around to reading anything by Studs Terkel or Harvey Pekar, so this book was really a 2-for-1 deal. Having read this, I have an appreciation for both men.

Terkel was certainly of an era, and that era was one in which American radicals had faith that unions would improve the fortune of workers. He was also of an era in which the average American didn't have experience promoting herself on social networks or aspiring to a gig on a reality TV show. I would imagine, 40 years later, t
Sep 02, 2012 Abbey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix
For some reason, I've avoided reading 'Working' for some time. I think I thought 'man, I'm working all the time, why should I read a boring book about working?' However, I saw that Harvey Pekar had adapted this huge book, and I do live in Chicago, and well, the CPS teacher's strike is scheduled to occur at any day now - I figured Labor Day weekend would be the perfect occasion to give the graphic novel a try.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book. Truly powerful, amazingly inspiring, and extr
Feb 24, 2010 Anthony rated it it was amazing

I saw Studs Terkel on the Daily Show a while back and I wanted to pick up some of his books. He's an interviewer, but he interviews everyone to try and capture the essence of the age, moment to moment. This graphic novel was pretty good. Some of the interviews didn't lend themselves to the graphic form, but the entire book was a fascinating slice of 1960s and 1970s everyday life. Terkel focused on occupations and talked to everyone he could. The neat thing was how many of these jobs are gone now
May 16, 2013 Viola rated it really liked it
great adaption.

In the preface to the graphic novel, Harvey Pekar writes:

I was especially pleased to work on this project because Studs Terkel puts a great deal of emphasis, as I do, in writing about quotidian life. The so-called normal aspect of human existence is underemphasized in every form of literature, yet that is the aspect that most readers are familiar with and can most easily identify with.

The style of life I myself am familiar with is the quotidian.

But just because one writes about ev
This was fun, it was good. I wanted to like it more than I really did. I found myself wanting it to be a little more current - all the text/depictions of workers are from more than 30 years ago. Also, most of the text was more about job satisfaction/philosophy than about the technicalities of working the job, which is personally what I'd be more fascinated by. Definite pro-union slant, which is cool. I do wish there was a touch more editorializing, because there's a definite agenda but you have ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Kirsti rated it really liked it
Excerpts from Terkel's classic book, drawn in different styles. I was sorry to see that the two paperboys didn't make the cut. (Maybe they weren't included because there aren't many paperboys around anymore.) The waitress, Delores Dante, is included, and hers is still my favorite interview.

I liked Pekar's introduction, too. He says that writing about everyday life is the sort of writing that everyone can identify with and respond to, but it is the type of writing that gets the least attention an
Dec 25, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: graflit
A graphic rendition of some parts of Studs Terkel's iconic "Working." Pekar edits and adapts many bits with guest artists doing the illustration. Some artists did their own adapting for their illustrations.

Pekar mentions in the forward how he felt that both Terkel and he had an appreciation for what Pekar labels the "quotidian narrative." It is true, people just talking about their work can have an emotional impact, there are beautiful, powerful stories out there in the everyday lives of people.
Aug 18, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I give this 4 stars because I have to. It's difficult and sometimes boring, a slog at times, woefully out of date, dizzying variation from one portrayal to the next, taxing, emotionally draining, depressing.

But, it needed to be done. I think it's an important work and I'm glad it has been given new life. I'm glad Story Corps is out there and hope we never forgo the power of oral histories.
Jul 02, 2009 Cathleen rated it liked it
My interest was piqued to hear of a graphic novel adaptation of Studs Terkel's Working, especially one that involved Harvey Pekar. It was worth the investment. I liked that the design styles and lettering varied among subjects, though some were so heavily weighted to text, it seemed to halt the flow. Still, a moderately successful interpretation, and one that may introduce the work to a new audience.
Aug 25, 2015 Bridget rated it liked it
I love that so many artists collaborated on this, and I love Harvey Pekar and feel like he was the perfect person to take on this project. That said, certain people's stories were much more interesting to me than others, and sometimes, reading this felt like, well…working. But I would recommend it to people who liked the excellent "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Enrenreich.
In this collection, a variety of artists illustrated a variety of stories told to Studs Terkel by working people. Some stories were more interesting than others, which i guess is to be expected. The art is overall very good.

I don't know...I wasn't as thrilled with this collection as I expected to be, but I'm not sure why.
Monique Wood
Jan 13, 2015 Monique Wood rated it really liked it
Read this after a recommendation from my boss... not sure how it would have read as a standard book, but this version (the only one my library had) as a graphic adaptation by Harvey Pekar and others was really intriguing. The stories are raw and real and a reminder of the honor and dignity and struggle in all types of work for all walks of life.
Sep 11, 2009 Kristen rated it it was amazing
This was INCREDIBLE. I love it.
Some of the workers had great insight into the plights of their lives and others didn't. All were amazing. For some the 40 hour work week is just another form of slavery, for others it isn't.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
May 20, 2016 Edmund Davis-Quinn rated it really liked it
Very good read and quick survey of Studs Terkel's classic book "Working." Very interesting how people got their jobs and what they like and don't like about them. Maybe I should give the main book a try again.
Sep 02, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
Loved it. This is a cartoon anthology of sorts. I read Stud's original Working when it first came out. I think it is very important to think about all the hard work that many people do, and the insight that one can derive from even the point of view of a gravedigger.
Apr 23, 2015 Wright rated it liked it
A compilation of various people talking about their jobs and occupations. Some stories were moving - telling of unfair social, physical, and financial conditions but the book as a whole had a few too many tales full of petty complaints.
Aug 13, 2014 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Like the labor movement in the United States, the comic shop where I found this was near death. Got it on clearance while the store was going out of business.

My friends: read Studs Terkel. And Harvey Pekar.
Feb 02, 2010 Rebekah rated it liked it
I liked some better than others; some of the original sketches were just more interesting than others, and then some of the adapting artists were better than others. I enjoyed "Farmworker" and "Gravedigger" the most, and will definitely be seeking out more of those two artists' work.
Nov 17, 2015 Amelia rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-fiction
Almost makes me want to read the full version? Also, is anyone doing work like Terkel on the today's workforce? I'd love to see how some of these jobs have changed how modern voices tell these stories.
Dec 21, 2011 Tripmastermonkey rated it liked it
I mostly browsed this over a couple days at work. Different artists, different length stories- some seemed too short. Some of the art I didn't like. All in all, you should check it out
Jan 17, 2010 Agathafrye rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who haven't read the original "Working" by Studs Terkel, graphic novel enthusiasts
Recommended to Agathafrye by: the new book shelf at the library
Shelves: graphic-novels
An interesting and ambitious idea, and the graphic skills for a lot of these stories were really impressive, but I love Stud's "Working" so much that this one couldn't help but pale in comparison.
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Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series.

In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name.

More about Harvey Pekar...

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