Scott's Reviews > Shortcomings

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
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Aug 11, 09

bookshelves: adult-books, graphic-novels, second-half-of-2009, summer-reading-2009, older-teens
Read in August, 2009

I read another review on Goodreads about this book falling into clichés and stereotypes. Which I think is kind of accurate. There is the Asian guy who is maybe trying to escape his own race by pursuing white women. There is his super-intellectual girlfriend. Snotty art punk. And raging, but hilarious, lesbian BFF. They are, to some extent, caricatures. But where I think he missed the point is in the poignancy. Agreed, it does get a little heavy-handed, a little Crash-y, when talking about race and making race its focus. But it also deals with race through the lens of these people's relationships, and in doing that actually succeeds in its intentions. It points out the hypocrisies of gender (i.e., it's always OK for men to do what they want sexually, but not for women.) I think it also succeeds in pointing out how all races, not just Asian-Americans, deal with cultural awareness and sensitivities.
Plus it has a great line that goes something like, "I didn't know they had affirmative action in fashion school."
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