Dani Peloquin's Reviews > Shortcomings

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
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's review
May 11, 2012

it was ok

Shortcomings tells the story of a 30 year old Japanese-American man who is in a relationship with a Japanese-American woman. Though they have been together for years, their relationship is now on the rock as the two people try to understand the role of their ethnicity in their lives and relationships. The main male character finds Caucasian women to be more attractive than Japanese women, which his girlfriend believes is racist. The couple decides to separate when Ben's girlfriend goes away to NYC. After some failed relationships and one-night stands, Ben decides to follow her only to find that she is hiding her own secret (though it is an extremely anti-climatic secret). Ben discusses all of her personal issues with his Korean best friend who is a lesbian with a revolving door of girlfriends.

Though issues surrounding identity and the role of ethnicity in a person's life are certainly worthy of exploration, this graphic novel does not handle the material as well as other novels (graphic and otherwise). The characters appear insipid and shallow. Ben's best friend is portrayed as a stereotypical lesbian character with a new girlfriend each night. Ben himself is depicted as a "typical" male who tries to find himself by sleeping with and drooling over other women besides his girlfriend. His girlfriend is also a two-dimensional character who flees the relationship by literally moving away. The graphics are interesting and all in sepia which adds a melancholic mood. Still, the pictures are not that interesting and do not add much to the text.

Overall, I was disappointed by this selection and found both the text and pictures to be lacking. The theme of the story was quite interesting and in a different context would be a thrilling read.


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