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Unlikely (The Girlfriend Trilogy #2)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  2,482 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
The follow-up to Jeffrey Brown's self-published debut hit, Clumsy. The bittersweet story of how Jeffrey Brown lost his virginity. A full-length graphic novel drawn in a simple and elegantly awkward style that heightens the emotional impact of the work.
Paperback, 227 pages
Published August 18th 2003 by Top Shelf Productions
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Oct 02, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
I liked this a lot because it very clearly illustrated how people lie to themselves (and therefore the other person) at the start of relationships; they want to be a better person, so they tell the person that they're better than they are. They say, "I don't do drugs anymore," or "I have no interest in that anymore," or "when I'm with you I feel like I'm someone else, someone I've wanted to be for a long time." That's awesome! I'm glad that person brings those qualities out of you and that you'r ...more
Jan 17, 2009 Iris rated it really liked it
After I finished this book, I had to set it aside and take a series of deep breaths. Then I either thought, or said aloud, "I am not ready to date again."

His art style is a little Matt Groening-esque. And some people have some problems with a series of frames of sighs and sneezes, but I kinda dig it. I have read most of his books so far (I think) and this is his best.
Jason Pettus
The Chicago Public Library recently established a partnership with online content sharing service Hoopla, which among other things means I suddenly have access to several thousand old comics I've never read before, including most of the back catalog of Dark Horse, Top Shelf and Boom! Studios. And this includes the first four or five books by indie darling Jeffrey Brown, whose scribble-like confessional stories are beloved by some and intensely hated by others; I'm reading them in chronological o ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Malbadeen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: nosey people
The point of this review is really to point you to "Be a Man", a little tiny 32 page comic written in reaction to Brown's being perceived as too sensitive or wimpy in his book Clumsy.

As stated in the copyright "This is a Parody and mostly not true and if you can't take a joke, fuck you."

Fortunately I can take a joke and I loved it! I'll share one comic to give you the feel but after that you'll have to seek it out and buy it because it's well worth the measly 3.00 and should, of course, be view
Nov 29, 2010 Alyx rated it liked it
A friend let me borrow this one. I'm struggling about whether to give it another star. It's fine. I appreciate the candor with which the author recounts the loss of his virginity to a young woman who suggests the dark neurotic reality of the archetypical manic pixie dream girl and how they didn't work out as a couple. However, the story kind of felt claustrophobic to me because that's basically all that happens in the book. I think I may have also imagined a woeful Fox Searchlight/Focus Features ...more
Feb 22, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Another autobiographical story of a failed relationship, Unlikely is chronologically before Clumsy, and tells the story of Jeff's first lover. It's just as good, if not better, than Clumsy, although sometimes very painful to read. Watching this relationship fall apart is harder than seeing the relationship in Clumsy come to an end, because of all of Allisyn's baggage and Jeff's complete inability to deal with it. These books aren't for everyone; I think a lot of people might find them self-indul ...more
Oct 15, 2007 Amanda rated it liked it
Oh, Jeff! Don't kiss that girl, Jeff, she's BAD NEWS! Don't you see it? You better not fall in love with her, she's going to mess your shit up. Jeff. Uh, Jeff?

Your visual style is so simple and careful, everything is rendered sweetly, innocently... EXCEPT that girl's boobs under her shirt, which you draw in lush, juicy detail in every frame she appears in. For me, that says it all about this.

All I'm saying, Jeff: it's a good thing you got a book out of that whole mess. Seriously.
Sep 23, 2012 A rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2012
I didn't like this novel. Don't get me wrong I'm a sucker for stories of failed love and painfully awkward life moments...and this memoir is a great one for that. However, when reading graphic novels, I want the artwork to grab me too...or at least not push me away. I found the speech bubbles to be placed in such a manner that the order of conversation was difficult for me to follow. It's interesting to peer into Brown's life but... Meh. I could have done without.
Feather Mista
Dibujo espantoso, personajes que oscilan entre ser simpaticones y queribles a insoportables, odiosos, estúpidos y bastante inmaduros. Quizás eso le da cierto triste realismo a la historia, pero también me la volvió por partes bastante tediosa. Mejor que Jeffrey Brown siga dibujando gatitos, porque sus personas son horribles.
Matt Graupman
Oct 04, 2014 Matt Graupman rated it really liked it
"Unlikely" is the second volume in Jeffrey Brown's so-called Girlfriend Trilogy and, as such, it's a refinement (although maybe not an improvement) of his debut book, "Clumsy." No matter what, though, Brown's comics have a lock on raw self-examination and melancholy.

Reading "Unlikely," I'm reminded of the contention that a band has it's whole life to craft it's amazing debut album and a far shorter time to create its follow-up. I'm not saying "Unlikely" isn't good, in fact it's often an artistic
Sep 29, 2011 Elke rated it really liked it
After Blankets, it took me awhile to get into this story and its drawings. Jeffrey Brown had a totally different style and creates a different atmosphere, but once it finished the first chapter, I got into the story and I couldn't stop reading. It was sometimes painful to watch the characters interact, I disliked Allyson a lot and Jeff has a very low selfesteem, especially when it comes to losing his virginity and pleasing his girlfriend. I think a lot of people can recognize themselves in certa ...more
Luke Johnson
Dec 12, 2009 Luke Johnson rated it really liked it
Simple, very real story of a young romance and its inevitable end. Neither the art nor the storytelling are entirely remarkable, but the story's cold reality is powerful and memorable. Recommended if you've ever had a relationship and watched it collapse seemingly out of your control.
Apr 27, 2009 Careuhhline rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ...
Recommended to Careuhhline by: someone named Greg in my Classical Political Thought class
I would like to contact the author and ask why it is that he insists on emasculating himself repeatedly in print.
Apr 01, 2008 Dave rated it it was ok
I like that comics allow for authors to write even when they have nothing to write about. It is admirable that Brown is able to change himself from being a loser or just a student into being an artist. He does this gracefully. It is difficult to read, not because he is dull, but because the writing is shallow. There is a tendency for comic artists to just record what happens and skip any kind of reading or reacting to what is happening. There was is an interview with Seth on Bookslut where he ta ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Kat rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
I've been consuming graphic novels like crazy for the past few months, and in particular, non-fiction memoirs.

Unlikely follows Jeffrey Brown's first 'grown up' relationship, with the troubled Allisyn, through from meeting, their first dates and sexual encounters, through to the collapse of their relationship.

Although I didn't love Brown's first book in this trilogy, Clumsy, there's something rather endearing about both his awkwardness, and that of his drawing. Far more cartoonish in style, it's
Sep 19, 2015 Sri rated it liked it
Lebih suka ini daripada buku yang pertama. Secara alur waktu, buku kedua ini menceritakan kisah yang terjadi sebelum kisah di buku pertama. Sebelum sampai di adegan yang persis sama yang diceritakan di awal buku pertama, aku bertanya-tanya, "ini perempuan yang sama yang diceritakan di awal buku pertama ga sih, tapi kok namanya beda?" Ternyata beneran sama.
Buku kedua ini terasa lebih nyata, soalnya lebih banyak dialog kali ya haha. Ga melulu 'action' aja :P. Walaupun endingnya sami mawon, diputus
Sep 26, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it
A really great, honest portrait of the rise and fall of a relationship.

I would give this book more stars, except for the fact that it's a little painful to read -- due to the subject matter of the story. As soon as the love interest is introduced, you instantly get the feeling that things are not going to end well.

Charting all of my past relationships would look the same, so that's no fault of Jeffrey Brown's.

This is a very quick read (less than an hour?), so I'd definitely recommend checking it
May 10, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Jeffrey Brown's recollection of how he lost his virginity is a sweet, honest, vulnerable look at what it's like to be young and negotiating the start of a relationship: the angst of waiting for someone to call, the nerves of a first date, the awkward laughter as you get to know one another. I felt nostalgic for my teen years as I read it, and Brown's words and art perfectly echo those sweet, yet painstaking, forays into romantic interactions. You really feel for Brown's younger self in this read ...more
Feb 21, 2010 Ginfur rated it it was amazing
Unlikely was a heartbreaking read for me. This story is the tale of how the author, Jeffrey Brown, lost his virginity. The art and layout of the story were great. How he manages to capture the neuroses of each character is uncanny. It just really laid out his experience for everyone to pick and poke at and the heartfelt exposure, literally from cover to cover, was not lost on me. Loved it and felt sad for it, all at the same time. Thanks, Mr. Brown.
Ana  Lourenço
Apr 07, 2015 Ana Lourenço rated it it was ok
I don't know what went wrong with this book. Maybe I'm just not used to Jeffrey Brown's style. Maybe I should have started with Clumsy. Maybe I'm not on my best days. I don't know. I didn't really enjoy it.
I love knowing about other people's romances and stories but this one was so dull that I lost interest. And those drawings.....

I'll read Clumsy, but you know, I'm not really confident I'll like it.
Aug 11, 2007 Sam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hipsters over heartbreak
This graphic novel is a great anecdote about the people with whom we fall in love, the ways they might hurt us in the end, and all of the little things that happen between us that make that possible. It's charming, in a word. Brown has a lovely way of picking up on the little things that make relationships and people tick, and don't be startled if you find it holding a mirror up to you. Very enjoyable, and a fairly quick read.
Despite a few glaring editorial mishaps - in one instance using the wrong to/too form - I enjoyed Unlikely. The illustrations sell the emotions the characters go through in what plays out as a typical romance gone sour. All the ingredients of your everyday failed relationship - the whirlwind beginning - the descent into the mundane and repetitive - the pushback - and the breakaway. Perfect medicine for the bitter and brokenhearted.
Apr 29, 2014 C2015 rated it really liked it
This was good. Well drawn and conveying emotion. Interesting to contrast with his other relationship. The meeting and the buildup was sweet and the breakup was sad in its confusion and inexplicableness. He's so brave to share those parts of his life. It may be because I don't read a lot of comics but I think this is a pretty unique form of telling these sorts of stories. And of course I ate up every frame of Cyrus the cat.
Jun 14, 2007 Phillip rated it really liked it
I realized after reading this book that everything I know about relationships I've learned from comics. Despite the apparent crudeness of the artwork, there are moments here that evoke real feeling. My favorite panel out of the whole book is the one where they're lying in bed, her back turned to him, and she asks, "How do you know it's love and not obsession?" He perfectly captures the callousness of it, and the inevitability of their break-up.
Jul 06, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This is an interesting contrast from jeffrey brown's other relationship pieces. Centering around him losing his virginity at 24, it is even more vulnerable and revealing than any other output. The slow and awkward addition of sex to his life was interesting to read, as his other books put the reader face to face with a decent amount of unabashed and unapologetic sexual exploits. i can never help but wonder what the girls of these collections think upon reading...
Jan 17, 2009 Lizzy rated it it was amazing
I am specifically not allowing my roommate Andi to read this and give it an inferior number of stars. I don't care what anyone has to say about Jeffrey Brown. I like his art and I like these whatever stories about small moments between not-meant-to-be people. Whereas most novels are about the exact opposite of that, Jeffrey's stuff fills in all those cracks in between the supposedly less mundane moments that people tend to believe as the stuff of great fiction.
Sep 07, 2009 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, 2009
This is one of Brown's earlier books, and as such, his art style is still a little rough compared to his recent output. It's a very personal story, though, and while I'm sure it wasn't his intention to portray her in this light, his girlfriend throughout is pretty awful.
At some point in the future, once I have all of his books, I really do need to read them in chronological order.
Feb 16, 2010 Yaya rated it it was amazing
I strangely feel so close to the author. It feels like we understand each other as I lived almost what he lived even though it's never exactly the same.
He wrote a love story but not one that you can read in the classical romantic litterature. I would say he wrote one that you can live in real life.
Feb 05, 2009 Abbey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix
utterly brilliant.

if you've ever had a broken heart (and i'm sure you have) you can relate to this simple story about the complexities and excitement of that 'first love' or something like it.

the ending is heartbreaking. and for that, i am thankful.
illustrations are perfect.

jeffrey brown is so honest. i'm officially addicted to his comics and look to him as inspiration.
Sep 04, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok
I'm all for 'amateur' style comics. But this was pushing it -- the drawing really reminded me of things I did in 5th grade. Overall the tone of the story was somewhat superficial. There were many moments of truth -- like boys negotiating who can 'go after' a girl -- but the rest of it was kind of simplistic.

For a much, much better coming of age / virginity graphic novel, check out Blankets.
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Jeffrey Brown was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up reading comic books with dreams of someday drawing them, only to abandon them and focus on becoming a 'fine artist.' While earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brown abandoned painting and began drawing comics with his first autobiographical book 'Clumsy' in 2001. Since then he's drawn a dozen books fo ...more
More about Jeffrey Brown...

Other Books in the Series

The Girlfriend Trilogy (3 books)
  • Clumsy
  • AEIOU: Any Easy Intimacy

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