Hannah's Reviews > Ghost World

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: sequential-art
Read on April 03, 2012 , read count: 1

I was walking through the library to kill time, and started to look in the graphic novel section. I saw the Ghost World movie a year or two ago, and decided the novel might be interesting. It is only 80 pages, so it made for a quick read.

Ghost World focuses on two girls who are past high school and pre-college who do pretty much whatever they please. I would say the ‘main’ character is Enid, who hates all men and pretty much everything else, too. The second character is Rebecca, the blonde on the cover, who sort of keeps Enid’s cynicism in check. They also have a few interesting side characters, like the clerk, John Ellis, their innocent friend Josh, and the creepy astrologer, Bob Skeetes, who comes to Enid’s garage sale for two hours and only buys a ten cent egg beater.

I get a strong cynical vibe from the story... possibly because Enid and Rebecca hate most everything they experience. One of the things they really find fascinating is a couple they see in a diner (Angel’s), whom they refer to as the Satanists. The only real friend the two have is Josh, an almost pure, innocent guy. They argue often over who should have sex with him, because they figure he is a virgin. The exploration of their friendship together and with Josh felt realistic and made the story richer.

I have been doing a project for one of my classes that involves looking at female friendships, and so this book was interesting. The novel looks really closely at what I think is a pretty typical friendship between girls. They like each other, but still worry that everyone likes the other one better. They keep secrets, gossip, contemplate the future, and do everything together.

I enjoyed the novel, partially due to the relatability of Enid and Rebecca — my good friend and I were similar to them in high school. There was a lot of tension in Ghost World, and I think this makes it rise above being a simple graphic novel. However, the characters make the plot hard to enjoy if you can’t appreciate being cynical.

I had to share one quote from the book that I really enjoyed:

“I wish I could just come up with one perfect look and stick with it… Like what if I bought some entire matching 1930′s wardrobe and wore that everyday… The trouble with that is you look really stupid and pretentious if you go a mall or a Taco Bell or something… And you have to act a certain way and drive an old car and everything and it’s a real pain in the ass!” – Enid

Overall, this was a pretty interesting slice of life story that I think many people could relate to. I don’t think it hurts to be a little cynical, and this story takes advantage of (and maybe goes a bit past) that idea. I wish the ending would have been a little more clear, but I guess I can't get everything I want -- I will have to be creative and think up an ending of my own that I like.
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