BCL Teen Librarians's Reviews > Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
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U 50x66
's review
Feb 27, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: graphic-novels, humorous

Jimmy Corrigan is a lonely guy -- a jittery, unattractive middle-aged man trapped in a dead-end job. The days bleed into each other, his only escape being a fantasy realm where he dons tights and becomes "the smartest kid on Earth." A grim history of parental abandonment, stretching all the way back to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and down the Corrigan family tree, has culminated in Jimmy's insignificant existence.
Jimmy's life finally takes a turn when he receives a letter from his estranged father, inviting him to a reconciliation. The story of Jimmy's reunion with his father and meeting with the sister he never knew is simultaneously funny and crushing. Along the way, the book also tells the backstories of the other Corrigan men, proving that Jimmy's parental troubles are far from unique.
Chris Ware's art throughout the graphic novel is both simple and astoundingly detailed, with particular attention to structures and architecture. Even the dust jacket on the hardcover vesion is a detailed work of art! This is one that encourages you to go back and reread pages or gaze at the art to pick up nuances that you missed the first time through.
Lest one rest under the misconception that the book is a pure downer, Ware's ultimate message appears to be that there is a place to fit for everyone in the world, and that loneliness and alienation can only persist for so long. If you're looking for more realistic graphic novels, it's hard to do much better than this!

--Ian
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