Nicole's Reviews > Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
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Feb 17, 2010

it was amazing
Read in January, 2009

I could not put it down once I started. I was immediately drawn in to Jimmy's character and eager to uncover his background. He's a middle-aged homely man, with a low self-esteem who is constantly overlooked by all of those around him, except for his overbearing mother. His life is interrupted by an attempt at reconciliation by his estranged father. Jimmy decides to meet his father, and things that are uncovered seem basic, but Chris Ware, the author, is a genius at subtle allusions so the reader soon finds that seemingly simple symbols are surprisingly substantial. For instance, Jimmy finds a Number 1 Dad t-shirt in his estranged father’s apartment. That juxtaposed with Jimmy's worn face reveals his angst and discomfort being somewhere unfamiliar. We later find out that the t-shirt is a gift from an adopted black daughter, Jimmy's half-sister and father's attempt at making up for abandoning his own son.

Jimmy's fantasy world is also an interesting part of the novel, allowing the reader to get inside Jimmy's head, something that none of the characters are able to do (completely anyway. There is one scene with his estranged adoptive sister where he opens up, but she yawns and calls it a night. I think that's about when he falls in love with her). I also enjoy the flashbacks to Jimmy's grandfather's childhood. The abusive father-son relationship is sad and would be too much to take in if not subtlely and eloquently touched on. Familial lineage is also an interesting theme throughout the novel- i.e. the men in all 4 generations (Jimmy through his great-grandfather) have a thing for similar types of women. Overall the book is as depressing as it is touching, which I think makes it realistic.


*Best of all this is a graphic novel: no attention span necessary. The imagery is fantastic. Some scenes don't even have words at all, but there is still a lot to be deduced. I like the McDonalds symbols everywhere and of course the red bird. Cardinals.
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