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I Never Liked You

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,716 ratings  ·  221 reviews
In one of the best graphic novels published in recent years, Chester Brown tells the story of his alienated youth in an almost detached, understated manner, giving the book an eerie, dream-like quality. For the new 2002 definitive softcover edition Brown has designed new layouts for the entire book, using "white" panel backgrounds instead of the black pages of the first ed
Paperback, 200 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  5,716 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Greta G

“One tear came. That was all.”

The risk in telling stories about yourself, is that you open yourself to interpretations and judgments as if you were a fictional character.

In this memoir of the author's teenage years, set in a suburb of Montreal, the illustrations are so minimalist, and the text so sparse, that the reader is bound to fill in the blanks.

Chester Brown seems to be an archetypical awkward, introverted kid, who is mocked by his school mates because he refuses to swear. He also strugg
Anthony Vacca
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A sparse but unhurried rendering of Brown's memories of being a teenager who ruthlessly toys with the affections of several starry-eyed girls. Actually it's not as bad as that, although Brown presents the actions of his hormone-riddled younger self with some severity. What really makes this graphic memoir "cooking with gas" (Blame my creative writing instructor from college for that Carverism.) is the seemingly secondary narrative thread of the casually cruel indifference with which young Brown ...more
Feb 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: disaffected youth
This book was like listening to a drugged out hippy recounting his childhood. He obviously doesn't remember much, so whatever he does is automatically soooo profound. ...more
I'd only read bits and pieces of I Never Liked You when it was serialized in the original issues of Yummy Fur back in the early 90's. This is the first time I've read the whole thing cover to cover, and I only did so because my friend and fellow cartoonist, Mari, raved about it to me recently. I'd always been pretty lukewarm on Chester Brown for some reason but Mari is right: he really is an amazing comics creator and a smart, inventive writer. His use of an objective, unemotional narrative voic ...more
Ill D
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Canadian Comic Fans
Pathetic and genuine.

A minimalist approach to style equates to the equally understated emotions of the protagonist (and author). Thin lines wrap around simplistic characters and the environment that ensconces them. What it lacks in visual adornments it makes up for in honesty.

Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Imagine, for a moment, the comic strip world of Charlie Brown without the whimsy. Take away Pigpen and his ever-present cloud of dust. Take away Snoopy typing away atop his doghouse or dreaming of being the Red Baron. No teacher going "Mwah Mwah Mwah". No crazy big heads. When Lucy steals the football away just before Charlie kicks it, no looney tooney somersaults in the air. Strip away, in other words, the cartooniness through which Charles Schultz filtered his despair, and what you're left wit ...more
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I find it strange that this is the most popular book by Chester Brown on this website. I feel like his autobiography works are poor in comparison to his Louis Riel biography work and Ed the Happy Clown and his other fictional work.
J. Gonzalez- Blitz
Nov 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
Come on, EVERY female character in this book has some sort of a crush on him. Except his schizophrenic mother. ALL of them? Really? Is this autobio or wish fulfillment?
"My money back!" 2k17. ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5/5.0 stars

I Never Liked You is not a romance story. It feels more like an atonement. A biographical recounting of Brown's own experiences as a young man of perpetual nonchalance, what stood out most about this subdued but weighty rendition, was the author's delicate and downplayed exchange with his mother which proved essential to the ending. How Brown managed to provoke the reader's emotion whilst maintaining an impassive tone made this work striking.

Joey Shapiro
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
very conflicted!! I did really enjoy this breezy lil graphic novel memoir but it made me SO frustrated because teenage Chester Brown is the worst !!! All the conflicts he faces in the book are 100% his fault because he is wildly emotionally unavailable!! Was also a little miffed that there’s not a tight conclusion and it sort of just ends abruptly. All that said?? I liked it and was very invested in it and all the different (disastrous) romantic entanglements Chester was involved in, which the b ...more
Nicholas Gourlay
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody suffering from depression, connection issues, laziness, or social phobias.
Chester Brown

I absolutely loved this one. Chester Brown's adolescence portrait drew me in completely. His seemingly distancing problem struck a chord with me. his inner battles of convincing himself to say the 'right thing' is a very true and accurate picture of mind and a lot of peoples inner turmoil. Events pass us by and we wonder 'If only I would have...'. Maybe then we wouldn't be cutting ourselves our tapping a vein.

The artwork is simple but fits the format wonderful, same as the positi
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Stunning minimalist autobiographical graphic novel, in which Brown interweaves the story of his growth to teenagehood and sexual maturation with the story of the deterioration and death of his mother. Profound but elliptical, this book has a lot to say about emotional intimacy and repression, without ever saying any of it out loud.
This is a story about an emotional maladjust making everyone around him miserable for no reason. I know Chester Brown also wrote a book called Paying For It about his experiences using prostitutes, which I really wanna read now, because it makes sense why someone this emotionally crippled would not only have to resort to prostitution, but would fail to understand or empathise with how it is inherently degrading and damaging for women to have to rent their body out as a cum bucket for money. In I ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
There is legitimately too much going on in here. It's a stupidly quick read, as a graphic novel, but I was angry at it every step of the way. Sure, there was the normal anger of watching the shy teenager who has actually overcome his shyness to declare his love for the woman he loves, but still won't act on it (you did the hardest part! Why not seal the deal?), but we are treated to what feels like every major event in this man's teenage years in the course of these panels. Of course, lots of th ...more
Evelyn Swift (Featherbrained Books)
I was not a big fan of this. I am a little surprised at how many five star ratings there are and the synopsis says this is considered "one of the best graphic novels published in recent years."

After reading this, especially the written portion at the end, all I can surmise is that the author must think very highly of himself. Small moments from his childhood are supposed to be so profound. I'll excuse his relationship with his mother because that was quite interesting and complex, but the majori
Lars Guthrie
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Comics seem to be the perfect medium for the genre to which 'I Never Liked You Belongs': wistful while brutally frank confessional autobiographies that delve into the awkwardness and painfulness of childhood. 'Stitches' by David Small, striking and innovative, really made its mark here very recently, but others come to mind: Craig Thompson's 'Blankets,' Leland Myrick's 'Missouri Boy,' David Heatley's 'My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down,' Debbie Drechsler's 'Summer of Love,' Alison Bechdel's 'Fun Ho ...more
Sean Duffy
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and different slice of young life about a shy boy who eats a lot of crackers, refuses to swear, and struggles with intimacy and relationships. The art is weird and wonderful--featuring alien sized heads and painfully thin bodies. As with Fun Home, I enjoyed the 70's flavor: KISS, David Bowie, Kung Fu, and Charlie's Angels. This is subtle and deceptively insightful. Good stuff. I want more.

Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, comics-gn
One of my favorite childhood memoir comics. I just read this for the second time, and it's striking how unemotional and unnostalgic chester is in his recounting of this. The only emotions are the emotions of him as a kid/teen, and these are exactly as inconsistent and situationally inappropriate as all the emotions I remember having as a young person. ...more
Kristin Katsuye
Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Depending on how you want to look at this book it could either be a one star or a four. I didn’t really much enjoy this overall but it wasn’t boring. As a story it is not great but as an overall piece it has its moments. It’s not substantial with meaning but it does show adolescence.
Bit too 'poor teenage me' angsty for my increasingly elderly tastes. ...more
Diego Munoz
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another one sitting read. Quite interesting, although the main character (the author) isn’t one for words, so the dialogue can be sparse at times.

The interesting points are the different memories he recalls, which do bring back memories to my own childhood.

Although he was socially awkward, he seemed to get a lot of attention from the girls, but for one reason or the other, he didn’t have much interest in them.

Not my favourite of his books, but not bad either.

Julie Rylie
another teenager based story. not very eventful but it is good to spend some time at.
Aritra  Dasgupta
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Numb. That's how this feels.

Yeah this is very relatable for me idk why. Chester Brown is just a master of combining text and these simply drawn images. It all feels distant but that adds an emotional punch to it all. It's amazing.

This is just how growing up feels. A lot of time wasted on things which don't end up mattering, hesitations, regrets, infatuations and so on. I can relate to that mother dying bit so hard. You imagine you'll go and give strength and be the like beacon out there but when
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chester Brown is a hard Author to like. Most known and loved for Louis Reil it's dangerous to step out into his other works because of his obsession with legalizing prostitution. With this title I was pleasantly surprised, it keeps to its nostalgic prose while maintaining the level of art Brown is known for. ...more
East Bay J
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
At first, I really didn’t like this one at all. I have a thing about comic art where I expect or desire or whatever a certain level of artistic skill. Poorly rendered anything is seriously distracting for me and Brown is one of those artists. I know this is an accepted thing in independent comics and other comics as well and I like Peter Bagge’s work and Daniel Clowes but the art in a lot of independents was (and is) mediocre at best. Also, the narrative is completely disjointed, which was also ...more
Apr 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everybody
Brown’s appeal doesn’t lie within his panels, it lies between them. Within his drawings he lays things out in a very bald way, with a borderline bland rhetoric. However, the combination of style and words manages to convey a deeper set of emotions, one that the reader is forced to discover for him or herself. The quiet meaning behind this minimalist art is impressive both visually and mentally. He demonstrates how simplicity, how leaving things out, is often a more subtly powerful way of definin ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, comics
A memoir of growing up in the suburbs in the 1970s, in Canada, and learning how to interact with people. A series of clumsy, fumbling attempts to have relationships, when you're too young to know what to do or what you actually want. What makes this comic outstanding, to me, is its use of negative space. The panels are floating in a sea of black. This is a surprisingly effective way of conveying isolation and detachment - especially in silent scenes wherein Chester is sitting at the kitchen tabl ...more
I found this dull and kind of boring, and I didn't like any of the characters, especially the lead. I feel bad about this, because it's autobiographical, but I just felt that the main character - the author, Chester Brown - was cold and rude towards everyone around him. I know that he's supposed to be extremely introverted and that he has trouble interacting normally with others, but he just comes off as a jerk. I didn't see any real moments where he was struggling to interact with others; I jus ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Adolescence is a painful, awkward time, and that awkwardness is captured here in all its horrible glory--romance with the girl next door (while being in love with someone else), an emotionally unbalanced mother who just wants her son to love her, being known as the kid who never swears--at the best of times, high school is rough; at the worst, it can be used to make comics as bitterly romantic as this one.
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Chester Brown was born in Montreal, Canada on May 16, 1960 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Chateauquay. His career path was set at the age of 12 when the local newspaper, The St. Lawrence Sun, published one of his comic strips.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

At 19, he moved to Toronto and got a day job while he worked on his skills as a ca

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