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3.59  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  82 reviews
VEINS is a tragicomedy novel about 22 years of a man's life in the middle of Ohio. The first novel by Drew, writer of the long-running comics Toothpaste For Dinner and Married To The Sea. Dark, weird, and funny.

"For my whole life I've had 0 friends or 1 friend, which sounds sad. But in binary, that's all of them."

"Sandpaper is like life. If it wasn't rough, it wouldn't be
Kindle Edition, 147 pages
Published (first published March 2011)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  677 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Joey Comeau
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really clever. The writing caught me up right away. I enjoy this style of funny prose, very straightforward and content based. I have a weakness for stories about people who don't really understand how to interact with the world properly, because they feel more true to life. I also have a weakness for absurdism. This book provided an intelligent mix of the two!

Written by Drew, of Toothpaste for Dinner, but with a different feeling from that comic, I think.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to rhea by: Geoffrey Gauchet
I knew almost nothing on this book when I started it, I know of the author (and his wife) from their various webcomics that I read on a daily basis. This was also the first book I read on the HP Touchpad through a Kindle app, I'll get to that experience after the book review. The book was a tragicomedy, some parts were definitely 2 stars for me and some parts were 4 stars. He definitely has a knack for making you laugh and cringe and sometimes at the same time. This story would work as a ...more
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Veins is an unusual book. In tone it's kind of like Catcher in the Rye, but rather than a self-indulgent rumination on the nature of beauty (or wintering ducks… f*** I can't stand CitR), it is instead a vicious social critique. Parts of it are darkly hilarious, parts are disturbing, parts are heartbreaking, but all of it seems to come out of nowhere. The narrator's voice is detached and non-descriptive, he simply relates the details of his life as though he were making a list. It's a testament ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novel
17 years ago, Forrest Gump came out in theaters. I remember I liked it, but then I discussed it with the mother of my girlfriend at the time. "It's ridiculous! He was rewarded for being stupid! That's not the way life works. You don't get to meet presidents and found successful companies if you're stupid." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's pretty close to what she said. It stuck with me, and pretty much ruined the movie for me.

Veins gives us the self-narrated story of another moron. Only
Giddy Girlie
Not really a humor book as was described but interesting nonetheless. Honestly, I purchased this expecting to laugh. Instead there was a lot of cringing and if I think about it too much I could almost cry. Essentially through a series of wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time mistakes the narrator goes from an awkward (maybe slightly Aspberger's) boy harrassed at school and living in a dysfunctional home to being a convict. It was a little hard for me to read because I recognize the type of person that ...more
Geoffrey Gauchet
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very strange and surreal at times. Funny, even at times when it probably should've been sad. In the end it was a bit depressing, but overall I enjoyed it.

One word review: interesting.
Good Zack
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most realistic book I've ever read in my entire life. It hits so close to home-- almost too close for the delicate and empathetic soul that I have-- one from which I have, in my maturation to adult, disallowed myself to go to my local supermarket alone around dusk during cold times of year for fear of breaking out crying at the sight of the crowd which pervades the city from which I hail, a city much like the Columbus described in Veins: a city filled with M.R.s, with pawn shop ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Veins is the first-person story of a young man named M.R., which in my line of work stands for mental retardation. He never speaks of having any developmental disability, but his actions and thoughts on life suggest a person who is quite unique...and quite in need of some intervention which he never receives.

The book is a hilarious read, though sometimes you feel bad at yourself for laughing at the unfortunate situations M.R. finds himself in.

Lots of people seem to think that this book is about
Chris Salzman
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I found myself wanting to laugh while reading, I was quieted by how depressing of a situation Veins had found himself in. Every time I wanted to feel bad, I found myself wanting to laugh at how hilarious his take on life is. It's a heartbreaking book and very well written.

It reminds me a lot of Forrest Gump and the early/later chapters of Flowers for Algernon. You're following a mentally disabled man as he navigates a world he doesn't quite understand.
May 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
terrible. i'm sorry. i love their comics but this was just terrible.
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much the funniest, saddest, stupidest thing I've ever read.
Collin Lysford
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Strangely enough, the book this reminds me of the most is Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. On the face of it, they're just about as different as books can be. Evicted is a sober and sprawling look in to the dynamics of American poverty and homelessness. Veins is a short, fictionalized account of a single person named M. R. and their journey through life.

But what they have in common is the emotional response - "It would have taken so little to do so much". When you read Evicted,
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought this would be funny, and instead it's just relentlessly and superficially sad. This is the story of Veins, an entirely unloved social outcast living in destitute poverty, whose only apparent defense against soul-crushing depression is an emotional distance from the rest of humanity provided by an implied degree of autism. He's a loser, and always has been - fat, ridiculed, friendless, and an accidental and oblivious creep to boot. The poor guy never had a chance in hell! So yeah, it's a ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is kind of heartbreaking. The main character is painfully awkward and a touch slow, but clearly not a bad person. He grew up in the shadow of his older brother, neglected by his parents. He's constantly misunderstood not only by his family but by everyone he comes into contact with. Poor dude can't seem to catch a break, yet he remains optimistic in his weird way.

It's one of those "slice of life" kind of books, like looking into someone's window. No big drama, no big resolution.

Mar 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know what I expected, honestly. I've read Married to the Sea and Toothpaste for Dinner for years, as well as Drew's other projects (things like Superpoop or The Worst Things for Sale). I read Veins because it was something new from someone whose work I enjoyed, and it was a strange, dark little book. It seemed more purely mean-spirited than "darkly humorous" to me. I recall cringing a lot and feeling very uncomfortable.

If there's some deeper meaning to Veins that I've missed, I'll
Tejas Nair
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny and Tragic

Veins reminded me of The Catcher in the Rye, and I almost likened to it. The prose is crisp and Drew carries the story like a master. One of the best books I read this year.
Peter Derk
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This is a dual review, Veins by Drew, which I read on the iPad and is the first eBook I read on an eReader from start to finish.

Let's start with the book.

Drew is the hilariousness behind the web site Toothpaste For Dinner, a site that's been entertaining millions of my brain cells for years. In particular, check out this one. Or this one. Or, if those don't tickle your fancy, try fucking yourself.

Drew wrote a book, and here is that book.

It's written in a sort of diary format, following the main
Alice Elizabeth
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Toothpaste for Dinner. I have been reading it since about 2006 and I’ll give a go to pretty much anything that Drew creates. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Veins but I was hoping for some laughs and that warped yet honest way of viewing the world that TPFD has.

Veins certainly delivered. The story went to some darker places than I was expecting, definitely, but it was still funny and made plenty of astute observations. I don’t know if I can say that I enjoyed the book.
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this book because I enjoy the author's Toothpaste for Diner webcomic (and being so short and cheap, the investment was minimal).

The book shines as an outsider's view looking in. The protagonist has no real friends, essentially no family, and yet never stops trying to fit in no matter how much rejection he faces. His understanding of how the world should be is based on pop culture and very little reality, and when he's forced to reconcile the differences, it can be quite entertaining:

Callie Leuck
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book by Drew, the artist behind the comic "Toothpaste for Dinner," among others. The book is described as humorous... and it is, but in a sad way. The protagonist, M.R., is this guy who is so positive and tries to make his life better, and half the time that is what makes his life worse. All sorts of bad things happen to him, from a bad picture day his freshman year in high school leading to the entire school calling him Veins, to being falsely accused of his hard-partying brother's ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing to say is that I chose 5 stars because that correlates to "it was amazing" on the tool-tip and I thought it definitely was! However, obviously any review is subjective but with this in particular it's worth saying that I think this book would be entirely lost on some people. It's an odd brand of humour to put it lightly but an excellent one in my opinion.
It just falls on the right side of absurd/believable and you can see real life in there amongst the ridiculousness of the
Charles Martin
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only sensible way to describe Drew is to explain why he is not Charles Bukowski.
1. Though a dread of life permeates Veins, the narrator isn't defeated by it. He has been doomed by bad parenting, bad schooling, bad genetics, and essentially an entire community that has refused to raise a soft-hearted man completely incapable of raising himself. Motorcycle Dude isn't beyond resentment, but he refuses to be controlled by it.
2. The artistry in the words is more subtle and way more satisfying.
Matthew Dowd
I read this because I really enjoy Drew's comic, Toothpaste for Dinner. It's quite amusing, and since that is free and this is not, why not support the guy? I'm glad that I did, but this was not what I was expecting. That is not a complaint. It's a short and good read, especially if you like feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Every review I had read about this book fell into one of two camps: 'funniest thing ever, I snorted beer out of my nose' and 'total crap, what the fuck dude?'

I don't really think
Toby Osbourn
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently rated this book a 5/5 here and I wanted to leave a slightly longer review than “5 stars” in case you are interested in reading this book at some point.

I have been a fan of “Drew Toothpaste” for a while, I used to regularly visit most of his sites and always got a good laugh out of them, I even owned a couple of t-shirts he had designed.

When I heard the book was first out several years ago I had one of those “I will definitely buy and read this book” moments, suffice to say it took
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm so conflicted about this book. I always loved Natalie Dee's comics when she was still drawing them. Her husband Drew had some web comics too (Toothpaste for Dinner and Married to the Sea) but his sense of humor didn't hit me as funny as hers did. I eventually started following him on Facebook because some other friends had shared funny posts of his. On December 7, he posted that his book was available for free on Amazon. I got it because I had heard good things about it. I'm so conflicted ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
The book description is an ambiguous one-liner, "Veins is a humorous story about a man's life in Ohio." First of all, it was hardly humorous and second of all, it was the complete opposite - downright depressing and just plain weird!

Okay, I have to admit, there were a few parts that were smile inducing and perhaps even chuckle worthy, but most of it is questionable and so awkward. I was often uncomfortable reading it, wondering, "seriously, is this guy retarded?"

Veins is pathetic and
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's pretty simple. It's quite twisted. There are some moments where I physically cringed, especially at some of the awkward bits. I think it's successfully both funny and sad at the same time. I've never read a book even remotely like this before and because it was so different it took me a few days to kinda "digest" it. I still can't decide if I love the main character or if I'm creeped out by him, maybe both. He's both relatable and bizarre as fuck and I'd wager most of us have met at least ...more
Nate Trier
I know Drew from his webcomic and his music (which are both clever and also sometimes delightfully misanthropic), so I wasn't sure of what to expect from a debut self-published novel. I finished it in just a couple of days, which is a good sign, and about a third of the way into it I felt like I really knew the character - which is quite a feat, given that Drew's protagonist is a somewhat creepy individual who makes poor decisions - someone we may try to avoid sitting next to on the bus. But ...more
Kav Van der linden
I've been a fan of Drew's comic, Toothpaste for Dinner, for almost a decade now. So naturally I wanted to read his book. He did not disappoint.

It's about a man, whom everyone calls Veins due to the unkindness of pubescent children, with an unmentioned mental disorder who was handed a very raw deal in life and how his misadventures lead him into awful, awful situations. I really want to omit the details because this book, I imagine, is much better if you start out not knowing exactly who Veins
Ben A
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say this is a really weird book. It's funny at points but overall dark and I really didn't feel like it went anywhere.

I wouldn't have taken so long to read it if it didn't just bum me out so much sometimes, but I think that Drew was going for something here that would make people very uncomfortable.

This book is definitely not for everyone, but the humor of the book, especially in the first half is incredibly poignant and it made me laugh out loud. It reminded me of people I've known in
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Drew is a webcomics artist and is the creator of He also has published collections of his comic art.

His wife Nataliee Dee is the creater of Also, together they collaborate on a webcomic called
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“It's like you're born and they put eggs and index cards and fish in a blender, and you have to drink it. Every sip is worse, but you have to keep going every day. The last sip is horrible and then the glass is empty, and life's over.” 1 likes
“Police can get you for any reason, so when you go in a building and it's red/white/blue everywhere, it makes you wonder if someone's going to jump out with handcuffs. When you say "I'm just here for the job" the cop throws you a meth, and you catch it, and then he snaps on the handcuffs. "You're arrested. Meth. It's time to come downtown.” 1 likes
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