Kali's Reviews > I Never Liked You

I Never Liked You by Chester Brown
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's review
Nov 13, 09

bookshelves: memoir-and-autobiography, graphic-novels
Read in October, 2009

In a Canadian suburb in the 1970s, Chester Brown is a typical teenager. “Typical” means that he’s involved in a series of detached, passive-aggressive relationships with his unraveling mother, his schoolmates (some who bully and some who flirt), and the girls next door. Chester is a skinny, artistic kid who, despite his too-cool front, is absolutely clueless. The kids in young Chester’s world try desperately to maneuver the confusing rituals of love and like. They’re awkward, wistful, manipulative, and mean-spirited. The things they do are at odds with the things they say; they want to be mature, savvy adults when they’re still petulant little kids at heart. The adult author Chester Brown depicts the moments of unease that epitomize teenhood with elegant little black-and-white line drawings, often a single panel on an otherwise blank page to really drive the home the emptiness and loneliness that is adolescence. The storyline is carefully paced; every incident is intense and focused and driving toward a strange, stirring conclusion. Chester Brown’s dysfunctional childhood is not one you’ll soon forget.

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