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The Quitter

(American Splendor)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,473 ratings  ·  149 reviews
""Pekar's most poignant and satisfying effort to date."--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW"Dean Haspiel. . . .performs with virtuoso flair in THE QUITTER"--THE NEW YORKER"Brutally honest."--ROLLING STONE★"A searingly honest memoir. . . . Pekar's work dignifies the struggle of the average man."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred In this virtuoso graphic novel, Harvey Pekar -- whose A ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published September 6th 2006 by Vertigo (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  1,473 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
For once, a Pekar offering that leaves me tepid. Tragic. Having read a not insignificant portion of his autobiographical American Splendor comics, this was bound to happen – I was dreading the moment for some time - since inevitably some overlap will occur at some point. So here we are.

The premise isn’t half-bad though, with Pekar deciding to go back to his childhood ( a period in his life he previously hadn’t examined as much). The actual execution though, leaves much to be desired. It’s basica
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sarah M. and Ben E.
Generally, I have a very sophisticated system for choosing the graphic novels/comics I read. It goes like this: I bring my kids to the library, peruse the kids section with them for a bit, do a little "mommy reads to her daughter" show at the tinny round table by the window (that is a stupidly designed to be adorable for kids but not smartly designed to be accommodating for the adults that almost always sit with the kids) and then I ditch them while I quickly scan the cooking/gardening/graphic n ...more
Sooraya Evans
Jul 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Probably one of the most boring auto-bios I have ever read.
As the title suggests, the book snapshots the author's life, quitting from one thing to the next.
Nothing special really happens.
In the end, he fears how folks will like his work.
Here's a tip: if you had an uninteresting life, don't write about it.
Making it into a graphic novel doesn't really help.
Eli Bishop
Oct 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Pekar has been writing about his life for so long that it's hard to read a new piece of his on its own terms - if there's a gap, you fill it in with what you already know. And he's always used a lot of gaps, writing about little moments here and there; he'd talk at length often enough, but it was like a tour guide who might stop at any moment and let you just watch things go by for a while. His one long book, Our Cancer Year , had more or less the same rhythm, and it held together because of ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ever since I saw the film, American Splendor, I have been a big fan of Harvey Pekar. I'm not sure how I heard about The Quitter since it is not new (the copyright date is 2005).

If you like Pekar's other stuff: American Splendor or Our Cancer Year, you'll probably enjoy The Quitter.

Like his other works, The Quitter is autobiographical. The Quitter begins with Pekar's childhood and takes you up through his first jobs after high school and his life before American Splendor began. It can be painful,
Oct 08, 2008 rated it liked it
This was our penultimate entry in the library's Jewish literature discussion group. Honestly, I would've preferred one of the American Splendor collections, but seeing as I'm a hired hand---unpaid, at that---I go with the flow. The Quitter has plenty of the misanthropy one expects from Pekar since he began self-publishing his comics in 1976. It's the most novelistic of his autobiographies, however, eschewing the slice-of-quotidian bafflement approach of AS for a coming-of-age plot in which we fo ...more
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first hardback graphic novel I've read. The late Harvey Pekar's American Splendor mantra was "ordinary life is pretty complex stuff." So is ordinary growing up. So was Harvey Pekar. That may explain the appeal of Harvey Pekar's observational art, which is pretty much a running narrative of his lifelong struggle to stack Wednesday on top of Tuesday. It has a raw, unprocessed quality to it -- which evokes a flash of recognition even from a reader whose life's circumstances were differe ...more
Todd N
Oct 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Read this at the library when I probably should have been working. That's what happens when I sit too close to the graphic novel section.

I felt worse for Cleveland losing Harvey Pekar this July than LeBron James's announcement a few days earlier, and when I read the sad news I made a mental note to pick up a copy of The Quitter because I knew it covered parts of his life not covered in his other comics.

This is Mr. Pekar's memoir covering the time from his birth to Polish immigrants to his famous
Michael Neno
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Quitter is actually a story of resilience. One of the last stories autobiographical comics pioneer Harvey Pekar wrote, it covers his early, post WWII years as a son of Polish immigrants living in Cleveland. Illustrated by Dean Haspiel, The Quitter is, typically, brutally honest.

To an extent not previously explored, Pekar was a fighter and bully in his youth, resorting to violence as a means of earning respect he wasn't otherwise getting from his peers, with whom he didn't fit in. He also had
Jo Bennie
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: p
Pekar is one of the giants of American comic writing and in this book expressively drawn in monochrome by Dean Haspel you can see why. This is Pekar's autobiography of his younger years and he is relentlessly brutal and honest about his own shortcomings, in particular his inability to keep going with any task when faced with being less than perfect and not receiving adultation. It is a tendency all of us have and dealing with failure is an essential part of character growth and Pekar is merciles ...more
Kevin O'leary
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
The book Quitter by Harvey Pekar in my opinion was an interesting read. It's goes through his life as a boy whose parents are Jewish immigrants. It was a battle for him through the early stages getting in fights with kids at school and his parents. I would recommend this if you like to read autobiographical books.
Benjamin Chandler
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Harvey Pekar's autobiography left me wanting more from it. It just kind of runs down events in his life, but leaves out anything charming or interesting. Essentially, it's a series of fist fights and job losses.
Joey Diamond
Jul 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comix
Blargh. God this was a boring autobio. I thought I loved Harvey Pekar and his messed up ways but the more he goes on about how miserable and boring his life is... well the more boring it is. No insights, no light and shade, no nuffin. He's depressed, and depressing.
Mar 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
Just awful. Redundant and uninspired.

Caption: "...after several months, it happened. I was laid off."
Thought bubble: "Oh, no, I've been laid off."

May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read the bulk of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor and related output over the last couple of years, liking much of it while being critical of some aspects as well. In my eyes, the Quitter is one the best books he ever put out, matching if not exceeding Our Cancer Year.

It tells the story of his childhood and early adulthood, looking back on that time with the understanding of an adult who understands his own psychological compulsions in a way that the younger person didn't and couldn't. It's
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Harvey Pekar’s work crossed decades with the very beginnings of the underground comix movement in the early 70s with Robert Crumb to his death in 2010. The Quitter focuses more on Pekar’s early life and how he had a penchant for quitting things, whether that was the military, school, or anything that he felt he would never excel in. It’s an interesting concept and a good way to reexamine one’s life with all of the failures.

Pekar’s voice is pretty idiosyncratic in comics. Through numerous narrat
Arthur Serratelli
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THIS is the guy -- Harvey Pekar -- an insecure, neurotic person with first generation immigrant parents trying to "fit in" in the pre-WWII and post-WWII "inner suburbs" of Cleveland.

HARVEY PEKAR, as a child, a teen, young adult, and then humble federal government file clerk, studied comics as a hobby, especially the: the Super Hero genre, and the R. Crumb "underground, counter-culture, hippie" Comix of the 1960s.

It was HARVEY PEKAR who figured out that were limits placed on the hippie counter c
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiographical graphic novel about the comic book writer, Harvey Pekar. He details his life as a young boy growing up in Cleaveland, with his Jewish-Polish family. Throughout the book he talks about his various jobs. His insecurities. His young violent period as a street fighter. His bouts with sports in high school. He covers his early adulthood trying out the navy and going to college. He also details his relationship with his parents and other family. The artwork is not amazing, ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loeg-archives
Although it was very good, I prefer the shorter, tighter, laser-focused American Splendor stories. The Quitter is a great overview of Pekar's life, the anxieties that he (and we) faced, and a look at some of the cultural, economic and social circumstances that created the Harvey Pekar that we know via his comics. But the classic Splendor stories, despite their brevity, hit with more depth than The Quitter was able to muster.

Still, it was pretty enjoyable. Harvey's conversational captions make th
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Though not dramatically earth shattering, it really hit home in a lot of places, This feels like a true tale, Though I would not have chosen quitter for the title, Trying out a bunch of different things in our lives is how we can find what we might really like, to me that isn't quitting, Not even being willing to try anything is what I consider quitting, I don't know what I would have used, maybe "Just Life" The art moved the story very well, This was a Good Read.
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I never expected to read a comic in a college Engish glass, so this one was definitely a pleasant surprise. It's a great comic. Pekar does a wonderful job of telling his story, so much so that I found myself very frustrated with him for being a quitter in the first place. Overall, a very easy and wonderful read. :)
Wilde Sky
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
In this graphic auto-biography a man recounts his early life and initial efforts at writing.

I found this book quite bleak, the basic point seems to be life is short so get on with what you want to do but don’t mess around at work. But I must admit that I’d never heard of this author or his ‘American Splendor’ series - so I am probably not the target audience for this book.
Justin Matulonis
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't a big fan of the street fighting, but it was written from someone that grew up in a different time period. My fathers more, or less. There is old way verses new way feeling to it and I work in a food production plant and there are race issues there. I read it one night just I had nothing else going on. It always comes back to the movie and meeting Robert Crumb. I liked it.
Rex Hurst
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The early story of Pekar's life. From his growing up in near poverty, this is a seemingly honest memoir of a smart but troubled boy who quits any time he feels that he might fail—a strategy that eventually leads to a near-nervous breakdown after he joins the navy. His life is not the usual grab-bag of tragedy, but it is poignant and feels very real. Highly recommended.
Colin Feely
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fantastic. I always love Pekar’s stuff. He’s simply telling the honest facts about his life as an ordinary person. Dignifying the inner life of all of us.

Sadly the art is a bit disappointing. At times a bit over the top when in my opinion it doesn’t fit the tone. Pekar has had some fantastic artists in the past and I know that there are better artists out there for this particular job.
Paolo Aguas
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Currently as I write this review this book only has a 3.6 rating here in Goodreads and honestly I find that a bit low. I enjoyed this book very much, I mean it’s not as great as his American Splendor series but as a somewhat prequel ish kind of story it does the job well and is very solid. Overall this should be one of those books with at least a 4.0 rating.
Ariel Hess
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book takes you through the challenges of a quitter. The main character struggles to find a job that suits him and struggles to fit in.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Harvey Pekar, I so appreciate your self awareness. But all I could think while reading this was “I wish someone had prescribed you Lexapro.”
Neil Vanderwerf
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A memoir of our favourite anti-hero in the ongoing battle of life, Harvey Pekar. Well written and the illustrations are fantastic.
Haris Quds
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like how he tell his life story. It makes me mad of his past and his quitting habbit 😐
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Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series.

In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name.

Other books in the series

American Splendor (1 - 10 of 31 books)
  • American Splendor, #1
  • American Splendor, #2
  • American Splendor, #3
  • American Splendor, #4
  • American Splendor, #5
  • American Splendor, #6
  • American Splendor, #7
  • American Splendor, #8
  • American Splendor, #9
  • American Splendor, #10

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