Jared Millet's Reviews > Feynman

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
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's review
Nov 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic-novels, nonfiction, science
Read from November 16 to 20, 2011

The obvious question before reading this book is "Why do a comic book about a theoretical physicist?" The obvious answer after reading it is, "Why the hell not?" Aside from being one of the top thinkers in science in the 20th Century, Richard Feynman was such a goofball that he was practically a cartoon character in real life. In the graphic novel, I kept waiting for his imaginary pet tiger to show up.

The biography is mostly, but not completely, linear as it skips through Feynman's life. What's great about the comic book format is that it lets more character and personality slip through than you'd necessarily get from dry text. Feynman, through visual cues, expression, and the unique pacing of the "sequential art" format, successfully paints a more vivid portrait of the man, complete with all his human foibles and weaknesses, than I've come across before. One interesting choice in the book was to narrate it in 1st person, in effect treating it as an auto-biography. Given that there's so much of Feynman's own writing about his life to draw from, I think the authors were able to get away with that without fictionalizing their subject.
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