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Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year
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Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,329 ratings  ·  295 reviews
Told through real-life journals, collages, lists, and drawings, this coming-of-age story illustrates the transformation of an 18-year-old girl from a small-town teenager into an independent city-dwelling college student. Written in an autobiographical style with beautiful artwork, Little Fish shows the challenges of being a young person facing the world on her own for the ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Zest Books
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Kelly Paradise It never specified. In general, she leaves details such as where she went to school and camp fairly vague.

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  1,329 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
For the life of me, I can't figure out how Little Fish got published. Not that Ramsey Beyer's graphic novel/list compendium of her college experience is particularly offensive. On the contrary, it's completely unoffensive, blandly chronicling none-too-original freshmen events that surely readers have seen covered elsewhere - on the first two seasons of Felicity, for instance.

I have to assume, then, that the "hook" is in the format, a zine/blog mix that strikes me as trying too hard to achieve f
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. For me, it really captured the feeling of transitioning from high school to college, and I appreciated how open she was in including *real* pieces of her journal/lists/etc. I hope there is a sequel.

I've seen other reviewers on here say that "nothing really happens"... but I don't think the book was supposed to be about some huge event. To me, the purpose was to capture a certain period in her life, and I feel like she did this beautifully.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, graphic-comics
The only reason this isn't getting one star is because the artwork is decent. The format(s) seemed a bit redundant. The content... well, it's always hard when you're reading a memoir. I try to evaluate the book separately from my feelings about the author. This proved difficult.

Ramsey is probably a really nice girl. But reading this memoir was like reading my diary from when I was 12. So superficial. So juvenile. Such silly lists. God, the lists.

I really disliked the author by the end. And I fee
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Different. Beyer has brought together her collection of lists and old Livejournal entries, bridging the gaps with comic book pages, to tell the story of her first year in college. Which is, to be honest, not terribly dramatic. But she does a good job of capturing the anxiety that a small town kid would feel when moving to a big city far from home. The many, many lists, some of which aren't terribly relevant to the story, could try anyone's patience, and there's quite a bit of repetition. But I d ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Little Fish is told in a series of lists and comics. In the spirit of the book, I decided to share my thoughts in a list.

a memoir told in lists which I liked because: I like lists, made for a quick read
enjoyed the graphics - made reading a visual experience
expresses the anticipation and expectation of going away to college - which anyone getting to go to college or anyone who has been to college can relate to
shares the excitement and anxiety of making new friends in a new place
small town gi
Emilia P
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
I wanted to like this!It's a girl who makes list and draws comics! And she's from the semi-rural midwest! We have so much in common! Argh!
But in her move to go to art school in Baltimore (so edgy!) and her wavering about the boy she likes, and all that good stuff, she somehow manages to never reveal any vulnerability, brokenness, or even really any mean or angry or relatably sad thoughts -- it felt like there was a wall between her and the reader. Which, argh, made it kind of a chore. Some revie
Ramsey was a small-town girl when she decided to move to the city to go to art school. She was relatively sheltered and naive, her family culture was midwestern, liberal and educated, and she naturally gravitated to an arts career and the punk subculture. This is the story of her first year at art school in Baltimore.

The book recounts the summer of 2003 through the summer of 2004, and includes short sequential-art anecdotes, lists of things ("things that scare me," "top 10 worst sounds," "things
Nov 30, 2013 added it
Beyer, R. (2013). Little fish: A memoir from a different kind of year. San Francisco, CA: Zest Books. 273 pp. (Unpaginated). ISBN: 978-1-936976-18-8. (Hardcover); $15.99.

Paw Paw, Michigan does not find its way into teen literature. I say this with conviction. Many readers may suspect that Paw Paw is a made up name. I’ve been there! Eaten at a very fine restaurant there. Consequently, finding Little Fish and discovering that Ramsey hails from Paw Paw attracted my attention. What has me reviewing
This is a nice exploration of a small-town girl's first year in a big, diverse arts college, and I think many students will relate to her mixed feelings of homesickness/longing for more adventure and freedom. However, the narrative is very bogged down by bland, repetitive lists and extremely vague details with little to no specific, vivid imagery or experience. It's like the author selectively included only the most boring/G-rated parts of her life. High school students will surely long for at l ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
So cute and good! Made me a bit nostalgic for when I was also 18 and leaving home for the first time. Super well done and would make a great gift for a teen
Sara Grochowski
There were two things about Ramsey Beyer's memoir, Little Fish: A Memoir From a Different Kind of Year, that immediately convinced me I needed to read it:

1. Ramsey is from the small town of Paw, Paw, Michigan, which is very close to where I attended university.. I left my small northern, Michigan town to move to Kalamazoo, which is much bigger than where I grew up, and I, like Ramsey, felt like a little fish in a new, big pond.

2. Little Fish is a memoir told in various formats, including illu
Book Whales
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally posted @ Book Whales

The book is brilliant! I find it interesting. The illustrations, lists and collages gave the book some depth in Ramsey’s Little Fish experience. The book is filled with vibrant drawings. And all the visual aspect of the book is fun to look through.


As I read Ramsey’s journal about dating and her own ‘reality’ moment— it transported me back to my college days. I fully remember my first day of school; it was awkward, hectic and confusing. I don’t know what
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love memoirs, particularly memoirs of every day people, especially if it covers something fun like the college experience or another big life transition. Unfortunately, this was not good.

Beyer essentially published scrap paper laying around with lists on it she made during her first year of art school. Rather than making these lists into some kind of meaningful narrative, they're just copy-pasted as is into this "graphic novel" (which has some comic illustrations, but probably less than 50% of
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This surprisingly sweet autobiographical, graphic novel follows a young woman through her first year of collage at an art school in Baltimore, MD. The pleasant but not overly compelling cover doesn't do justice to the book, I think. I doubt I would have pulled this one off the shelf had a friend not given it do me. Within are lists, journal entries culled from the author's Livejournal account (remember Livejournal?!), and zine excerpts.

The multimodal art intrigued me, as did Ramsey's thoughtful
I actually enjoyed this book. I usually do not read or enjoy graphic novels, but this one holds a lot of truth about freshman year at college - that is, if you go AWAY to college. I liked reading and reminiscing about that easy, fun, figuring-yourself-out time in life. I related to Ramsey and enjoyed seeing her change and grow. I thought it was fun that she made lists all the time, for everything!
Jan 18, 2020 added it
I'm imaging myself as an alien from Mars who never went to college, or a human anywhere on Earth who also never went to college, and I'm thinking about how un-fun this book would be from that perspective (it's about a girl going away to college). However, I happen to have gone away to college not all that long ago, so I could really relate to a lot of this book. I was resistant going in, but by the end I was reflecting *a lot* on being 18. I mean, I'm listening to Voxtrot (one of my favorite ban ...more
Matt Wilson
I read Little Fish by Ramsey Bayer. I did not like this book. The story is about the author Ramsey, and her transformation from being a high school student to dealing with college and becoming more independent. The story was probably not my cup of tea because it did not really peak my interest. I found the plot to be more basic and sort of cliche but again this probably wasn’t the best book for me to read. I believe that the book has a good message, saying that you should not be afraid to pursue ...more
Marco Morano
I think this is a really cute and fun coming of age story of a girl throughout her first year of college, but the ending left me unsatisfied. I feel like there was so much untouched potential that could've been used and I just wanted a lot more from the story. Still had a lot of fun reading this though! ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a really sweet book my sister got for me before I started at uni. I may be conflating the thoughtfulness of the book with the thoughtfulness of the gift but it holds a special place for me anyway
It was pretty good. I loved the story line.
Stefanie Wille
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is one of a kind for me. I’ve never before read a book that had this combination of lists, drawings, collages, etc. . It was a lot of fun at the start, but once the newness had wore off I sometimes felt it lacked in the dialogue department. Perhaps I’m being picky, or I’m just not used to reading comics, but for me there just wasn’t enough in the dialogues. They just left me wanting more details, more pages, more depth.

I find this to be a very hard book to review, because I’m just not
Dani Shuping
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
ARC provided by NetGalley

Ramsey Beyer is 18 years old and about to leave her small town life to become an independent big city college freshman. And she wants to share her story. In Little Fish, Ramsey share's with her us her first hand thoughts of tackling the new challenges that face her in the big city and growing up away from the friends and family she's known all of her life. Told through Ramsey's journals, collages, lists, and drawings she shares with he her transformation in the time befo
I feel like there have been a LOT of coming of age teen memoir comics lately, or maybe I've just read a lot of them. This one is...OK. The art is not mind-blowing, but the characters are rendered well and I can imagine what they look like (or at least how they dress). It reads as mostly a collection of the author's LiveJournal and zines, which is what in fact it is. Charming but very limited and very, very young.

Reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college, actually. The main character start
Kristen Harvey
This summer was the perfect time to read Little Fish, a book that reminded me of my own college experiences. My little sister is now embarking on her own adventure in college, and I'm excited that we will only be 30 minutes away instead of 90 minutes. Change is the name of this school year for me as well, as my school implements new standards, we adopt new technology and I try out many new things. Enough about me for now, back to the book.

I love that Ramsey is a list maker, as this is one of my
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: requested
I wasn't sure what to expect going into Little Fish. It's a coming of age type memoir told in a graphic novel format. It's not something that I regret reading, but it's also not something that I'd read again either.

I appreciate the unique structure of this graphic novel. Ramsey uses a collection of old lists and blog posts in her comics to show some growth of where she's come from in life. I liked the lists aspect, because I'm a big list maker myself.

Overall though, this story was just kind of v
I have never opened a graphic novel and I have never felt any inclination to do so. I shelved this book at work and for some reason went back and opened it. It was what I saw that made me smile, that made me check out the book and read it in two sittings, in one night.

When I opened the book, the format reminded me of a zine, which is a latest obsession of mine. Scrapbook pages and typewriter written words and sweet cartoons and jottings. I loved it.

The whole book is amazing. The thing you have
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, teen
This graphic novel takes real journals, collages, lists and drawings to show the author’s transitional first year of college. Ramsey grew up in very small Paw Paw, Michigan. She was an artist from a young age and worked very hard at it, earning a spot in one of the top art schools in the country. This meant moving to Baltimore and making new friends for the first time since she was a young child. It also meant that she would no longer be the best artist around, she would be challenged as an arti ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I was excited to read this book when I first saw it. It sounded like a coming of age story, about that somewhat scary but exciting time when a child leaves the comfort of a small town life for big city college life. I thought that the fact that it was in graphic novel format might make it more exciting or relate-able but I was wrong.

I found the graphic novel format to be fine- except for all the lists. I found that most of the lists did NOTHING to move the story along and towards the last third
This memoir in graphic format had just the right everything to make it a delicious reward. Transitioning from high school to her first year in college, Ramsey is not only moving from rural to city, but changing gears and thoughts about the world with all of the new things she's experiencing: people, music, criticism, life decisions.

My only disappointment is that it ends with Ramsey and Daniel's romance, sending the message that all is complete because now she's a pair. And while it may not be h
Cindy Hudson
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Accustomed to life in a small town in Wisconsin where everyone knows each other, Ramsey is excited that she has the opportunity to venture out on her own after she graduates from high school. Shy and pig-tailed, she nonetheless enters college life at an art school in Baltimore with high hopes and dreams of adventure. Little Fish is her memoir of her first year away from home.

The title reflects Ramsey’s feelings that she has become a little fish in a big pond, and at first she is definitely out o
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Ramsey Beyer grew up on a farm in Michigan before escaping to city life in Baltimore, MD, where she received a BFA in experimental animation. She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and keeps her hands busy with all sorts of projects, spending her time gardening, riding her bike all over Philly, taking Rover for long walks, and working on comics in coffee shops. She has been making zines since 200 ...more

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