Summer Blonde
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Summer Blonde (Optic Nerve #5-8)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,279 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Adrian Tomine's cult comix series Optic Nerve is finally collected into one sharp-looking hardcover volume. Described as the Raymond Carver of comix, Tomine constructs tales of emotional disconnection with an ear for painfully real dialogue. Combined with his deft black and white depictions of urbane lifestyles, Tomine's fans have often accused him of eavesdropping in on t...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Community Reviews

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Paul

I really like those quiet Sundancy American indie movies like Wendy and Lucy, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Winter’s Bone, Frozen River, Ghost World, Gigantic, Go, Happiness, Humpday and Please Give – even when they don’t knock your socks off the atmosphere of teetering-on-the-edge-of-melancholia is just right for me, it’s like a bottle of my favourite bootleg hooch*; and Summer Blonde is exactly one of those movies, in graphic novel form. I loved the bittersweet tang of all four stories here, and t...more
Rory
SHUT UP, Adrian Tomine. I get that your characters are all you, and that they're all your girlfriends, and that they're all lonely and disconnected and pathetic. I get it, now SHUT UP. And endings? I know they're not hip, but you could humour us with some, couldn't you?
Michael Alexander
May 13, 2007 Michael Alexander rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of trendy sad bastard comix like Ghost World or Jimmy Corrigan
Such a right-on look at urban/suburban loneliness. We all may not have felt this way in our high school and college and 20-something years, but I sure have at times. Sure, the characters are whiny and self-pitying, but so are people who actually go through those situations. This is not as Raymond Carver-redux as everybody is claiming--for one thing, the situations are a little more unusual, where Carver really gets great mileage out of the banal and the utterly ordinary. No, this feels like clas...more
Sharm Alagaratnam
Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine was my most recent comic book recommendation. The four stories contained within each encapsulate a little slice of California Gen X life in all its urban loneliness. In fact, what I liked most about them was that there weren't tidy endings to any of the stories. Additionally, anyone who is at all Chinese or knows anything about (migrant) Chinese culture may identify very much with Hillary in 'Hawaiian Getaway'.

I found a surprisingly good review of the book by Time...more
Jess
Oh. Despite really not liking Shortcomings , Summer Blonde has redeemed Adrian Tomine in my eyes. I think his characters, who may strike unaccustomed readers as obnoxious or intentionally abrasive, are more tolerable in these brief glimpses. Again, the artwork is clean, detailed and subtly expressive, with that rare quality in graphic fiction of looking like actual people you may pass in the street.

These are not definitive moments in these peoples lives, they're not transformative moments, but t...more
David
These stories of young men and women seeking meaning (and seldom finding it) in a world that is as aimless and sometimes as cruel as they themselves are, may at first seem somewhat drifty and static, but they have a way of creeping in under the skin and setting up residence in the heart. A maladjusted former telephone girl – fired for acknowledging that it was William Shatner ordering those crewnecks – strikes up a relationship with a victim of a crank call. A socially inept author parlays his n...more
Andrew
I suppose my reaction to the stories in this book is largely dependent on my hope that Tomine is truly critiquing the "nice guy" types who are the protagonists of his stories. Making a character loathsome is not the same thing as calling into question the basic validity of their self-image (for evidence that the two aren't necessarily the same thing, see Philip Roth or Martin Amis or Richard Ford).

The way that most of Tomine's female characters remain locked in the terms of manic-pixie-dream-gi...more
Jen
Wow. I had been enjoying the Optic Nerve single issues I was reading, but this book totally blew me away. I read Tomine's 32 Stories not too long ago (his collection of really early, self-published Optic Nerve issues), and the distance he traveled between that book and this one is remarkable to me. Summer Blonde is four different stories - each one of which was published in an issue of Optic Nerve, I believe, before they were collected - and the title of one of the stories is Summer Blonde. My f...more
Jimmy
Jun 30, 2009 Jimmy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jimmy by: p.c. atl
Summer blonde, some are not blonde, and some just fantasize about blondes. There's too much teen angst and white-boy self pity in these pages for me to really be very enthusiastic about it. All four protagonists are losers who are just creepy or bitter enough for you to not feel sorry for him/her. The first two stories suffered from this the most, I felt like the artist was writing about himself. The last two stories are an improvement. I liked the 3rd story the most, because it was about an asi...more
A
Jan 30, 2014 A rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to A by: Alarra
Quiet, beautiful and perfect. There is a strangely crystalline property to his work that feels like everything is being minutely observed and preserved in the bell jar of the page. I could read this through over and over (and have!).
Jamie
Dec 02, 2011 Jamie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jamie by: www.atomicbooks.com
Shelves: graphic-novels, adult
Oh, the ambiguous endings. Or lack thereof. I find these stories to be perfect, and the endings to be so as well. When you read a book, and get to know the characters, do you really want to think that their story is over just because you have finished the book? Or do you prefer to think they go on living their imperfect lives? I guess I'm the latter.
Amanda
More like 3.5... Summer Blonde is a collection of fourt stories originally presented in Optic Nerve each about someone who is painfully uncomfortable in their own skin. I could see how some people could find Tomine a little redundant, but I think if it's good, go with it.
pierlapo  kirby
La differenza tra Tomine e molti degli scrittori minimalisti contemporanei è che Tomine, oltre a saper disegnare bene, presumo meglio di loro, è bravo.
oriana
This is one of the books I read that summer I worked at the kiosk in Central Park. Something I'd never have picked up otherwise that just blew me away.
Julia
I love Adrian Tomine's observational style. His illustrations are realistic in a stark and brutal way. They are exquisitely detailed in black and white, and he draws focus to beautiful visual details such as facial expressions and body language to extend the impact of the story and dialogue. The stories feature characters who are pathetic losers living with disappointment, loss, and broken hopes. There is something in the dark humour and the agonising honesty which makes for compelling reading....more
Artur Coelho
Blonde Platine, Summer Blonde no original, é um livro que reune quatro histórias publicadas originalmente no comic Optic Nerve, um comic influente e inovador que Tomine publica desde os seus dezasseis anos (nada como génios precoces).

Blonde Platine é composto por quatro contos em BD. No primeiro, Alter Ego, somos introduzidos ao mundo de um escritor que luta débilmente para escrever o seu segundo livro. Enquanto busca inspiração, envolve-se com a irmã mais nova de uma antiga paixão platónica dos...more
Eli
The last story gets three stars. In general I had issues with this book though. It seems as if the medium with which Tomine tells his stories really stifles any progression the stories might make. Everyone comes across as really two-dimensional and, I promise I'm not trying to be cute here, everything is so black and white. The guys are either pathetic, awkward losers/chauvinistic jocks and the girls are all masochistic sluts with low self esteem. There is also a lot of blankness to the way Tomi...more
Mike
I decided to include Summer Blonde in the "catching-up" dimension of my 52 books in 52 weeks challenge after going to my favourite comic book shop and being stared at incredulously at the shrugging motion I made when the clerk asked me if I had ever read some Adrian Tomine. He immediately pulled out Summer Blonde from the stack and emphasised on how important it was for me to acquaint myself with the book.

It was incredibly easy to get into these four stories of social and emotional isolation, if...more
Maggie
I'm not totally sure this is a youth appropriate text, but wanna get the hang of this, and I read it last night.

Adrian Tomine's graphic novel, a collection of four short stories, is for a high school reader, if not a late high school reader. Tomine explores the isolation and loneliness of four modern young characters. "Alter Ego" tells the story of a young author floundering to try and find his next project, checking out of his own life and only being able to connect with the high school aged yo...more
Fin
Jun 25, 2011 Fin rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Adrian Tomine and Michael Alexander.
Recommended to Fin by: Look at that cover! And the title! You KNOW this book is going to have a stalker in it.
It's kind of pathetic that I feel more motivated to bitch about a book I didn't like than to convince y'all to read an amazing one, but let's get bitching!
The back cover has a bunch of positive reviews, but I really just didn't like this book.
The art was fine, although when he didn't color people's irises in, they looked like soulless monsters who were never really looking at anything.
Almost every character was a creepy asshat, and there weren't any endings, either. If he did that for one of th...more
jess
I enjoyed reading this book well enough, in that it was an adequately pleasurable reading experience. I didn't love it. I haven't thought about it since I finished it. It is not the sort of book that got its details stuck in the crevices of my brain. It's a portrait of a sort of urban/suburban middle-class existence in a specific place (Bay Area) at a specific time (now-ish) for a specific generation (Tomine-ish). The major themes come back to loneliness, isolation, pathetic desperation, etc. Th...more
Nazary
This book is the reason I am happy that the graphic novel genre exists. It's good to see people breaking away from superheroes and into actualy storytelling with real people. The people in the book may be flat, but they're not boring. They're the typical freaks and geeks we meet in high school and adulthood, they all have their issues and they try to deal with them as best they can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. What's important is that we can relate to these characters. They're not...more
Dan
Aug 26, 2007 Dan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: deviant loners who like to revel in it, Chuck Palahniuk fans
This book is a compilation of 4 shorter comics from Adrian Tomine's comicbook Optic Nerve. The common theme to all the stories are sad lonely people trying to make a connection with others. Whether it is a high school loser grown up to be a successful writer flirting with a high school girl; a suicidal man over come with jealousy for his smooth neighbor; an over-weight second generation immigrant who can't talk to people in person; a drunk high school girl who poops her pants at a party and a ge...more
Veroni
Tomine is a master at distilling human situations into an image. Every expression on a person's face, every background is thoughtfully constructed. As for the writing, it's an equally precise record of modern despair. The dialogue aches with realness.

So why the missing star? Honestly, in terms of craft (of both writing and illustration) this book deservers 5/5. The reason why I just can't stick out this book and say "This is it! Read it or die!" is because there's something fundamentally missing...more
Joseph
My favorite author, John D MacDonald, once summed up the point of writing or storytelling in general like this: At some point, the reader ought to be eagerly picking up and resuming the book thinking, "Dammit, I want to see what happens to the guy!"
As a mystery/thriller writer, MacDonald was probably thinking of stories with a highly dramatic scope entailing death and danger.
Summer Blonde is NOT that book.
The shorts in Summer Blonde deal with the ordinary and mundane. There are no thrilling clim...more
Ryan
Wasn't sure how much I would like this until I read it. I think other readers would draw an immediate connection to Daniel Clowes. The influence is certainly there in the art style. But the way Tomine writes a story is much different. The thing that , to me, seems the most similar would be Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Most of the characters are young and make some poor choices. Most are unlikeable. But the stories are interesting. I look forward to reading more of Tomine's fiction now.
Francesca
A masterly progression from '32 Stories' & 'Sleepwalking', with added darkness & nuance to the tone of the narratives, even as Tomine's style becomes smoother & flatter. His prodigious talent is breathtaking; the precision of the frames has the grace of an art film. Ambiguity & clarity are strangely united in his denouements; moreover this book is gripping, genuinely hard to put down. I particularly loved 'Hawaiian Getaway', focusing on the misanthropic, broken-hearted sarcasm of...more
Géraldine
Lu en français
___

Quatre nouvelles en image

*Alter Ego*
Un écrivain en mal d'inspiration retourne sur les traces de son adolescence suite à la réception d'un mot d'une fan qui est peut-être son ancien amour d'adolescence.
*Blonde platine*
Un jeune homme en difficultés relationnelles observe et jalouse son voisin serial seducteur
*Escapade hawaïenne*
Une jeune femme dite "bizarre" tente vaille que vaille de trouver sa place dans la société et, si possible, l'amour.
*Alerte à la bombe*
Un adolescent inad...more
Núria
‘Rubia de verano’ me ha fascinado. Está entre las obras literarias que más me han llegado, la colocaría en mi lista de libros favoritos, sean cómics o no. Visualmente seguramente no será tan impactante como otros cómics contemporáneos que tienen probablemente más renombre (estoy pensacndo concretamente en el 'Jimmy Corrigan' y 'Blankets'), aunque el estilo visual de Tomine no deja de ser perfectamente efectivo. Y además narrativamente es infinitamente más satisfactorio. Son cuatro historias brev...more
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a popular contemporary cartoonist, is best known for his ongoing comic book series Optic Nerve and his illustrations in The New Yorker.
More about Adrian Tomine...
Shortcomings Sleepwalk and Other Stories 32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics Optic Nerve #1 Scenes from an Impending Marriage

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