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The Nao of Brown
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The Nao of Brown

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,209 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Twenty-eight-year-old Nao Brown, who’s hafu (half Japanese, half English), is not well. She’s suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and fighting violent urges to harm other people. But that’s not who she really wants to be. Nao has dreams. She wants to quiet her unruly mind; she wants to get her design and illustration career off the ground; and she wants to f ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published October 18th 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  3,209 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
To be honest, I did not really enjoy this book. I found the characters irritating, was unsympathetic to their personal problems, and did not care for the way the account was wrapped up. (view spoiler) ...more
Seth T.
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I've always had a soft spot for comics, but before I started Good Ok Bad, I was more interested in literary fiction. The Savage Detectives , Wind-Up Bird Chronicle , Never Let Me Go , Franny and Zooey , Cat's Cradle, Foucault's Pendulum, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I don't mention these to drop names but to give you a place to hang your hat, a way of knowing what I'm talking about. Maybe you've read all of these. Maybe only one or two. But in either ...more
2.5 stars - Spoilers

-Not great, it was nowhere near as good as I thought it would be — the plot and main character (Nao) just weren't interesting.

-I loved the illustrations, they were the best thing about the novel.

-The story was kind of blah… It revolved around a half Japanese/half English girl who had OCD and other issues. Yea, I didn't really connect with Nao's character, I found her issues and love life largely boring.

-I enjoyed the story within the story way more than the main story. It w
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
The drawings are beautiful but the story is a mess.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
K, this is gorgeous, y'all.

I mean, LOOK at that cover. Then, rotate the book - the edges of the pages are colored red. You probably don't even notice that the jacket is double sided (especially if you're looking at a library book where the jacket is taped to the cover). Then, you flip through those red-tipped pages and see these stunning, full-color, totally frameable watercolors. There are sections which are colored fairly realistically, sections which are washed in blue or red, and sections wh
David Schaafsma
Amazing book. Pencil, watercolor, wonderful art to match the great storytelling, certainly one of the best graphic novels I have yet read. The story of Nao, a girl working in toys and illustration and looking for love and peace, who has OCD with violent obsessions. Ray, her Buddhist teacher, Steve, her co-worker and long time friend, her roommate, her friend Gregory, all these folks figure in to help her get from black and white to... Brown, from Past to Now. Nao is hafu, half English, half Japa ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book. Beautiful art, beautiful characters and interactions and soft enlightenment of beauty and reality.
Charles Hatfield
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Ping-ponging between photorealistic naturalism and frankly Miyazaki- (and Moebius) inspired fantasy interludes, The Nao of Brown is a smart, layered novel about the relationship between reality and fantasy—in this case the fantasies, both violent and romantic, of Nao Brown, a young British woman of partly Japanese descent, who struggles with OCD and her own murderous daydreams. Nao is a good person, and desperately needs to keep reminding herself of that fact, but she cannot trust herself; she s ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dillon's "The Nao of Brown" is a vividly illustrated story centred around a neurotic, emotionally disturbed Nao, of a unique half Japanese, half English descent. Beyond the resulting condescension she receives of her "exoticism", Nao continues to seek for that "perfect love" in London, and come to terms with her mental state -- her life is constantly disrupted by the violent nature of her intrusive thoughts and her obsession with them. This book offers a convoluted and disturbing but refreshingl ...more
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I picked this from the library shelves the other day because it looked like it was about a character named Nao, and I loved the character named Nao in Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being. This illustrates the point that people pick up books for all sorts of weird and happenstance reasons.

This has the most beautiful artwork and character renderings. A story about OCD, obsessive thoughts, washing machines and Buddhism, taking place in an upscale Japanese novelty vinyl toy shop and an urban Bud
Mihaela Precup
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Very very cool drawings and paintings. [If only it had all been done like the story within the story, though!] Main story, rather weak and the ending, rushed; the coincidence of the two life-changing accidents, forced. Buddhist stuff went right over my head, and so did the references to the Japanese toys. The love plot seemed completely improbable. But again, very cool artwork, much much cooler than the plot itself.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2014
Loved it! Exquisite art and a fleshed out main character. Just had issues with the tidy ending...
Sujit Nair
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
This would be a perfect read while getting a colonoscopy.

Loved the illustrations. The plot was messier than my credit card bills.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Nao Brown is a Hafu : half Japanese, half English. She’s in her 20s. She shares a flat with a nurse. She lives and works (in an adult Japanese toy shop – anime figurines etc) in North London. She’s looking for love. She regularly attends a Buddhist centre where she meditates.

She has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and she is frequently consumed by intrusive, violent thoughts. She doesn’t trust herself around anyone weaker than her, in case she attacks them. In one (admittedly disturbing) scene, s
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another book picked up on impulse from the staff recommends table at the library. The cover was wonderful, the synopsis on the inside was intriguing - it was a fast, easy sell. But then it got put aside, and it wasn't until the day it was due that I got around to reading it. But once I opened it, I couldn't put it down. Into the bath, out of the bath, getting dressed, downstairs to read on the couch (too noisy), back upstairs to read in the bed until I was done. (Thank goodness it was my day off ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
So good and also pretty fucking harrowing. But also often really funny! Like the part where the nerdy guy regales the buxom bartender by telling a story of how he shat his pants, and rather than running away horrified, she starts telling a story of a time she shat her pants! Ah, young love.

Um, but anyway. This is the story of a 20-something British lady and her flatmate and her friends and her paramours and her normal if somewhat dissolute life and the occasional roaring up of her dark, dark, da
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
readathon17 book 41: a book that deals with mental health

I saw some bad comments about this book on Goodreads so I had low expectations.
I enjoyed it. I liked the art a lot and I connected with the story as well.

The main character is Nao, Japanese-English artist living in London. She works at her friends store, she has a roommate, she goes to a buddhist center... pretty normal stuff... Except that she may get a mental attack and start imagining she will kill people. She imagines stabbing pregnant
First Second Books
Both the art and the writing in this graphic novel are great.

But my favorite part of the book was the way that the author dealt with his protagonist, who gets gradually more neurotic as the book goes along – in a way that begins to make her unlikeable. Just as you get to the point where you’re ready to roll your eyes and give up on her – her life changes! It’s so rare to see this sort of thing done well.

Also I got to see Glyn do some lovely watercolor paintings this weekend, which was wonderful!
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Excellent artwork, good writing, powerful story about life, love, thoughts, Buddhism, and a particular form of OCD.
Dylan Horrocks
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
This book is gorgeous, smart, gentle and kind.
Spiros Derveniotis
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deeply personal, extremely strong, exemplary storytelling.
Brantz Woolsey
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful. It is so well done. I don't have words for it, but I would highly recommend it.
Mars Dorian
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful, scribbled drawings with incredible perspectives and knowledge about human expressions.
I've read that the artist makes storyboards, which the artwork reminded me of. Incredible blocking of scenes, mimics, and realistic expressions.

The story's a mess though. It reads like a stretched snippet of life revolving around a half-Japanese Brit with geeky tendencies and mental issues. I read the thick comic book in three bursts, but the pace was slow. The story never went beyond the snippet o
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, comics
I've had a strict NO HARDBACK rule for a few years now because they are heavy, awkward, and annoying to pack. The fact that I eschewed all of that to bring this home with me is the best endorsement I can give for this book, which snuck up on me, threw a crazy bright spotlight on my own mental health insecurities and then stomped all over my heart. The art is beautiful, and I am a massive sucker for fantasy narratives embedded in reality, stories-within-stories. Hands-down the best comic I've rea ...more
Elizabeth (Literary Hoarders)
I have to confess that I didn't know this was a graphic novel until I picked it up from the library. Read it in one sitting. The illustrations are phenomenal - for me, they were the best part of the book. The story and Nao were surprisingly dark; just dark enough that I couldn't seem to make a connection to either. Regardless, this was clearly a work of love and great effort, and the finished product is impressive.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Okay, so. The art is good. Story is interesting ish. But, um. Reeeeeeally uncomfortable with the way they treat OCD, or gays, or women. So many reviews love it because we are too thirsty for representation. The bar is too low you guys. We deserve so much more than patronizing, gaslighting, victim-blaming, generalization, all that.
I feel awful because this was recommended to me personally by a bookseller that I respect a lot. But this isn’t okay. We need to think critically about this.
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really interesting graphic novel dealing with one aspect of mental health, one I thought I might be more familiar with, because I catch myself ruminating about issues here and there but not in the way the main character does here.
Beautifully produced and quirky which bumped it up to 4 stars. I'm sure there are many others would click with the storyline more than I did.
Kate Stericker
Between this book and I'm Crazy, 2019 has been a good year for discovering extremely resonant representations of pure-obsessional OCD in graphic novels ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on the Carnegie-Stout Public Library blog

There is some danger in writing a review of a book one loves too dearly. It’s possible to be so enthused as to find oneself incapable of anything more insightful than “Zowee, this book was super good!” That's a perfectly reasonable reaction, but it makes for a pretty dull blog post. More importantly, it utterly fails to convey what makes the book good and, therefore, is unlikely to convince anyone to give it a go. And let’s be honest, th
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best use of colours I have ever seen in a graphic novel. I am glad that, after all these years since I read it the last time, it still manages to break my heart and cathartically redeem the thoughts of being a bad person. This is undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever laid my eyes upon
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