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Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  639 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is a tender collection of letters, photographs, and drawings Anders Nilsen has compiled in memory of his fiancee, Cheryl Weaver, who died of cancer in November 2005. It is an appreciation of the time they shared together, and a heartbreaking account of the progression of her illness. Including early love notes, simple and poetic postcards,
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 15th 2007 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  639 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
“Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow! Wake up, Mr. Frodo!”--Tolkien, Two Towers

All of Nilsen's work that I have read besides this work (Dogs and Water, Big Questions, Monologues on the Coming Plague) seems philosophical, deliberately spare, ironic, Samuel Beckett-like, stripped down emotionally and technically. Controlled, in a certain way. Not personal in any obvious sense. Maybe some people might see the work as flippant, as obviously anti-aesthetic,
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought I had a lot to say about this, but I'm going to table any attempt at a review & go hug my husband. ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There is so much I want to say about this book and yet I don’t think I can quite put it into words. I absolutely LOVE it. When I first saw it at our local bookstore, I flipped through it a few times, thinking, “Hmm. Looks interesting, and kind of a cute love story.” Went back in today and decided to buy it. As I chatted with Skylar (bookstore employee) about why I was buying it, I referenced my friends/family that have been impacted by cancer; I thought Nilsen’s approach would be a unique way to ...more
Reading_ Tamishly
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Damn I am still crying. It's so sad, happy and beautiful.

All the nostalgic feels.

The reality.

The story of two people and everyone they love.

Their memories.

The photographs.

The dialogues.

The joys and the pain.

The things we remember in the end.

My poor heart...

Life is nothing in the end but the little things that mattered during those normal days.
Sooraya Evans
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
A rather raw scrap book compiling memories of the author with a special someone, who sadly passed away from cancer. Not quite an impressive presentation, art-wise.
But still a beautiful tribute nonetheless.
Jimmy Mcnulty
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How do you write a review about a book like this? Anders shares with us a few key memories about the love of his life, Cheryl Weaver.

If I have one valid criticism, I suppose it's that I wish the book was longer. But I figure it's rude to even ask for that-- he's let us pry into this private part of his life for long enough. This book, in its sparseness, makes you want to meet her, want to know her as he does, so perhaps this criticism is also a strength.

Possibly written as a tribute to her, to
Made me cry, of course.

It's a beautifully designed book, and the story is inevitably heart-breaking.

It chronicles the relationship of the author with his significant other, who died while they were still engaged*.

Letters chronicling their travels, photographs of their adventures, drawings of her in the hospital, postcards from one to the other. It's a bit of a mishmash, a jumble, a potpourri of memories. There's a beauty in the mixed-bag feeling.

I never got the sense of who either of these peop
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A mixed media memoir of a relationship, the trivial and the tumultuous, the letters and postcards between a young couple, and the deep pain of loss. Damn.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's hard to assign a rating to this, particularly a two star one, because it is a beautiful tribute. And that was its original intent, so I can't fault it for that. But as a total outsider, I felt really disconnected. It was too short and disjointed for me to be involved. It felt like it wasn't meant for me--and it really wasn't. ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 07-graphic-novel
This is a sweet and sad story about a fellow's relationship with a woman who ultimately dies (don't worry, that doesn't give it away;). My only complaint is that it seems so short, like read-it-in-an-hour short and almost don't-really-get-a-sense-of-characters short, too. ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cried in the break room at work.
pegs ☆
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Poignant and good read, loved how personal it was, loved the more light hearted moments that balanced out the end, which made me cry. I think it was a little too short though.
Jul 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, biography
Nilsen made this book for himself, and wanted to distribute it to family and friends, "twenty copies or so by photocopy and ink-jet," so don't expect anything but an extremely personal re/collection of bits and pieces, small adventures and postcards, short comics and letters.
There is no story, no compelling characters, arcs nor development, it's a bunch of polaroid tossed together from the memory.
Note: I do appreciate that this was out of the press' usual genre of graphic novels and more a favor for a friend not up to self-publishing a book originally intended for family and friends. However, I wish there had been alt text of the images of handwritten letters due to these being difficult to decipher on my screen. ...more
Sandy Plants
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: why-am-i-alive
My only criticism is that I wish it had been longer. Very poignant ♥️
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
ugh. this left me in tears. like, there's currently a pile of snotty tissues next to me as i type this. i haven't been typing reviews lately for anything i finish because i just don't think i can do it but with this book i almost want to just get it over with so i can finish processing all of these emotions and move on.

don't go where i can't follow is a raw and honest collection of postcards, sketches, letters, photographs, and all together, is a perfect little memorial for anders nilsen's fina
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a collection of photographs, letters, journal entries, drawings and ticket stubs — the catalog of someone else’s memories, archived so you can (kind of voyeuristically) look into the writer’s material life. If this is the kind of thing you collect in your own day-to-day, you'll probably like this.

The book is short, and I got through it in about an hour. But there were so many details I liked that made me linger. I liked the collecting of tickets, and the compiling of lists, and the
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm sure this is a nice memorial for readers who knew the couple personally. The comic about the ashes is lovely, as are a few of the postcards. I was intrigued by the mix of letters, postcards, photos, and comics; I appreciated that there wasn't heavy foreshadowing or narrative hand-holding. That said, it didn't feel like all the right moments had been chosen to show us these people or make an arc. It doesn't hold together, for me, as a book for the rest of us.

Perhaps the theme does some work
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very poignant and interesting. Ran a huge interview with the author in The Guardian which was really interesting and made me seek this out at the library. Its a mixture of comic strip, scrapbook and photos about his girlfriend who died of cancer. Originally meant to be a small private publication for her friends and family, he then decided to publish it.
One point, asking in the library where the 'adult graphic novel' section is (not one I frequent or even knew existed before last week) felt like
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most honest and heart-breaking memoirs of love that I have ever read. Period. I should have bought it the first time I saw it at Quimby's in Chicago, and sadly it is now out of print. I actually cried in the book store as I read it. Is it better to have loved and lost? Anders Nilsen makes me think YES.

... but you don't have to take my word for it.
Brandon  Barrett
May 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing

Gut wrenching, painful, incredible. I cannot overemphazise the simple beauty of this book, and wouldn't want to. Read when you're in a healthy and balanced frame of mind.
Alexandria Godina
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
Wow- that was hard to read but impossible to put down. The artwork is beautiful, the sentiment tugs your heart out. Well done. I can't imagine a better tribute. ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Anders Nilsen hooked me forever with his gorgeous long and spare graphic novel, Big Questions. This book, which originally came out in 2006 with a minimal run and then again in 2012, is a departure for him. In fact, only a few pages actually involve his drawings. And yet, it is still quite powerful in its reticence.

I do not want you to know the reason he has for writing this book. I didn't, and I am glad I wasn't expecting what was to come in the second half.

The book entails postcards, letters
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anders (I guess after reading this I feel more compelled to call him by his first name than his last) writes and illustrates and composes this story with so much love. I felt like I'd stumbled on someone's scrapbooky journal, holding moments that were incredibly tender in their ordinary depiction of what it is like to share a life with someone, to go where they go, to simply witness things in companionship. It's an incredible homage to love, loss, and the small bits of memory that rattle loose w ...more
Sophie U
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A highly personal collection of letters, postcards, sketchbook drawings, journal entries, and comics that paint a portrait of a relationship cut short. It's simple and honest, and arguably too short, but packs an emotional punch I was in no way expecting. One of the most devastating books I've read. Although I have a few qualms with it - I wish it was longer, I wish we got to know Carol more, I wish the delightful comics took up more pages - it was a beautiful and heartbreaking tribute to love, ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
This is a great book just for Nilsen's vision of all the styles the encompass comics. The material is heart-breaking - the true story of Nilsen's fiancee's death from lymphoma - but Nilsen's mixing of postcards that they'd sent to each other, a letter that he'd written to his sister, traditional sequential art sequences, illustrated journal entries and captioned photographs really captured the flavor of his relationship with Weaver. Very, very heart-breaking stuff. ...more
Eva Inzu
"I know this boy named anders.
He makes my heart ache and my stomach

cheryl weaver
september, 2000"

It's started cute.
I think Cheryl Weaver was a lovely girl, but what made her lovely.. Anders didn't point out explicitly nor implicitly.. I don't think the work is completed.. or maybe it's just a raw material.
For a memorial, it meets the purpose.. but as published material it's not met my own expectation.
Abeer Hoque
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow is a lovely heartbreaking book by Anders Nilsen about his relationship with his fiancee who is diagnosed with cancer. It’s more memoir and travelogue than graphic novel, a deeply moving collection of letters, photographs from a road trip, handwritten captions, journal entries, and line drawings. Expect to weep.
Caitlin Smith
Jun 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know what I expected when I stumbled upon this book at the library, but I was completely blown away!

The author vulnerably shares a deep part of his life through a series of travels. Some stories include traveling to other places, others traveling through a life event. The style of this book left me wanting to read more. I felt like I could experience each story in an intimate way.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A heartrending account of a relationship cut short by cancer. The intimate ephemera of postcards and photos intermingled with drawings was a bittersweet way to convey the potential and loss in their time together.
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Anders Nilsen is the artist and author of ten books including Big Questions, The End, and Poetry is Useless as well as the coloring book A Walk in Eden. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Poetry Magazine, Kramer's Ergot, Pitchfork, Medium and elsewhere. His comics have been translated into several languages overseas and his painting and drawing have been exhibited internationally. N ...more

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