Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Man in the Ceiling” as Want to Read:
The Man in the Ceiling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Man in the Ceiling

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  493 ratings  ·  69 reviews

He's bad at sports and not much better at school, but Jimmy sure can draw terrific cartoons. And his dream, like that of his Uncle Lester, who writes flop Broadway musicals, is to be recognized for what he loves doing most.

Paperback, 185 pages
Published June 8th 1995 by HarperCollins (first published October 1st 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, fiction, kiddo
Ay que bonito este libro. I remember reading this in high school and being totally blown away!! Reading it as an adult definitely makes it resonate on a whole different level. It goes really deep when talking about creativity, failure, being an artist, etc. I also just loved the way it captures a child's view of adults -- always slightly suspicious and bewildered, as in, what is it with these grown ups? En fin, this makes a great read and a great gift for any creative type. If I could get a hold ...more
Paula Cruz
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Há tempos eu estava para ler um livro do Jules Feiffer e, rapaz, valeu a pena a espera. Este é um livro sensível, sobre apego, carinho, infância, vocação, fase adulta, aceitação, tudo. Provavelmente um dos finais mais lindos que já li; ou que eu já vi c:
Lars Guthrie
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I recently attended a conference on Learning and the Brain. One of the speakers was Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford who has been doing breakthrough work on motivation and learning. In her talk--as well as in her book "Mindsets"--she referred to two types of mindsets, fixed mindset and growth mindset. Studies she's conducted show the benefits of a growth mindset, where the learner believes that intelligence is malleable and effort is the key to improving intelligence. This bears a ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To begin with, I think our library has this book in the wrong section. It was in the Juvenile area,and after reading it, I really think to be appreciated you need to be at least a pre-teen. The author does a masterful job of introducing us to Jimmy and his artistic thoughts and struggles. With excellent illustrations, the reader will fall in love with Jimmy. Jimmy loves to draw comics, but his father considers it useless talents. Jimmy finds that drawing for others isn't nearly as fun as doing i ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think I picked this book up by accident thinking it was something else by a similar title. Boy am I glad I did. It was an easy read, and even one that didn't fully engage me for awhile. However I was so pleased with how it ended and the feeling and message of the book. Also feels very timely for me right now. Would recommend this book for anyone.
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking, as well completely uplifting in a way that isn't cheezy or overdone. I wish I had more books like this to read when I was young. Instead I just read this one over and over and over.
This story of a young boy’s battle with family, his art, expectations from friends and relatives brims with hilarity, aggravation, frustration and contradictions. Jimmy wants approval from his father for his artistic leanings. But the first time his father talks frankly to him about his conflicted emotions over Jimmy and his Uncle Lester’s creative inclinations, Jimmy is deeply uncomfortable. Jimmy idolizes his schoolmate Charlie Beemer. But Charlie’s subtle manipulations and critique over the b ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of Feiffer's children's books, borrowed from the library, really enjoyed it. Sufficiently funny and charming that parents reading it to their kids will enjoy it. Nice accompanying illustrations, but it's largely a prose book. Recommended for anybody with young 'uns.

Jimmy wants to be a cartoonist, but his ideas are derailed when a more popular boy shows interest in his work, but wants Jimmy to draw the popular boy's ideas rather than Jimmy's own. Meanwhile, Jimmy's uncle, a longtime wannabe p
Austin Storm
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember having a strong reaction to this book in grade school, and I revisited it to see if it would hold up. It does, and then some. Jules Feiffer is best known for his illustrations for "The Phantom Tollbooth", and his illustrations here are just as effective. The feel is a bit of the more melancholy parts of Roald Dahl, with family dynamics that feel perfectly true and also a little like a YA J.D. Salinger. He inhabits the inner life of the 10-year old protagonist. It also feels a bit like ...more
Suz Davidson
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Part inspiration, part infuriation... the story follows a young boy who is unique in his love of cartooning as he experiences some typical, and some not-so-typical, challenges. The parents are appalling in their poor management of their children, which is made somewhat enjoyable by small moments of comeuppance. There are some lovely moments in this story, but only barely manage to override the frustration that permeates each chapter. Nevertheless, it has a charming finish, and you get the sense ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I wanted to like this much more than I did. Parts I identified - the boy has to do everything because the Mother is afraid of the sister. I didn't like the cartoons, I didn't like the parents and I didn't like the boy. He would dump his friends in a minute.

I liked the uncle though.
Kiyora Daniels
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was about a boy, whose family didn't understand him. The boy loved doing art. Jimmy, the boy wants to be a cartoonist someday but his parents think he is wasting his time.
How can he make his parents understand and his passion of art? I rated this book a 4 out of 5 because it could of been funnier.

Date Finished: 10/18/17
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
What a wonderful children's chapter book.
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
I read this once in grade school, and recently saw it sitting lonely on my shelves and decided to pick it up again as I needed something lighter, and I had mostly forgotten the plot.

I will start by saying how much I LOVE Jules Feiffer's illustrations. I became aware of him because he did the illustrations for The Phantom Tollbooth, which is still probably my favorite book of all time. I have been reading it since I was in third grade and it remains, and probably will remain the book I have read
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was surprising. I don't use the word captivating or excellent, because it feels like you're stumbling through it until you find one page that you've fallen in love with the entire thing.
The book revolves around a meta-fictional play about a man who cannot feel, so he builds a robot girlfriend for himself (that doesn't turn out the best); and a boy who wants to be a cartoonist but hates drawing hands.
The book seems goofy in somemost places, but very aware of its own goofiness, and that
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book recommended somewhere online as being funny. It is a 5.3 on the AR reading list. I found a few things to enjoy from it and a lot of little things to hate about it. I hate that the main character claims school is not important. He wants to be a cartoonist someday, and he spends all his time sketching comic sequences. None of his teachers can coax him into participating at all. I would probably be okay with it if somewhere in the novel the boy learns that the core subject areas ( ...more
D.S. Thornton
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a writer and artist who found this little gem a rewarding affirmation. When the disappointments come from critique and rejection, I think of Jimmy and how he grew. I loved how Feiffer showed the variety of personalities that affect an artist (the good and the bad). I loved how we saw other artists and how they struggle with their work and demands for their time, and how the struggling never goes away. I loved how Feiffer, a seasoned pro, drew as the boy, complete with misspellings and a sim ...more
Riley Conway
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Man in the Ceiling, an amusing and creatively rendered story of how “every ‘failure’ is a bit of future luck,” follows Jimmy—a budding comic book artist who yearns for the admiration of schoolyard critic Charley Beemer—and Jimmy’s uncle, who takes his crack at success on Broadway. One of the novel’s aspects that I particularly enjoy is the way in which Feiffer’s narrator often addresses the reader directly, especially to offer commentary on the illustrations. At one point, the narrator direc ...more
Clover White
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is NOT a kids' book, despite having pictures and being shelved in the children's section of the library. It is, however, a simply brilliant book about kids. Things it describes perfectly: how all the kids want to be friends with the "king" of the school. What a kid with an obsessive focus feels about school. How a preteen is swept away with tantrums. How a little sister seems to love more the more she is repulsed by her brother. The passive neglect of a mother. The desire to quit when thing ...more
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If that is not recommendation enough,
this book has comics, anecdotal stories, musical theatre, and is inspirational.
It is about Jimmy, whose name I still can't spell after the 7 times I've read this book, who wants to be a cartoonist. He has a hard time getting to know his dad and sister or any of the kids at school, who like sports, are loud, and don't quite appreciate his art. The only person who does appreciate his art is his uncle Lester, who writes mu
Nathan Truong
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
The Man in the Ceiling (1993) by Jules Feiffer is the little tale of a little boy who loves to draw comics, figuring out whether or not its something that he sees fitful in his future. It’s definitely cute, humorous, and reminded me of the times when I used to lay stomach-flat on the kitchen floors drawing away with Crayolas on college-ruled paper. Recommended read for those who love to draw comics.
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Two copies of this book have been sitting on my library shelf for years, along side "Phantom Tollbooth." A former librarian said they deserve their spot, and should stay (that is, not be weeded/discarded). I respected her opinion "The Man...", and finally brought a copy home to read. I was not disappointed, but am at a loss to think of student in my school that might enjoy it. I'll try to wiggle in a pitch for it somewhere...I wonder if students who like graphic novels might enjoy it??
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the themes of this book is failure. Jimmy is a aspiring cartoonist who thinks his father thinks he is a failure, just like his playwright Uncle Lester. This book is enjoyable because though the characters change their opinions of each other several times through the novel, the changes are realistic. I recommend this book to someone struggling with anything, because it reminds you that even small changes make a big difference.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-teenagers
I re-read this recently. I remembered liking it, but I didn't really remember just how good it is. The story beautiful illustrates with wry humor the struggles of being a child, of being an artist, and trying to find an outlet to express pain, anger, and powerlessness. And, in a straight forward, non sugar coated way, it says flat out: success means having to fail a couple hundred times first.

K. Thomas
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had been familiar with Jules Feiffer primarily as a cartoonist and playwrite, but this book showcases his talents with long-form prose. I wish I'd read this book when I was an adolescent (though I imagine a lot of the humor and character details would have gone over my head.) This is a very unique format the way it combines drawings with words, it's definitely inspired me to track down all the Jules Feiffer books I haven't yet read.
Ilana Waters
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An absolute classic, and one that should be required reading for every artist or aspiring artist. Not only does Feiffer nail what it's really like to work in a creative field, but be has a keen eye for family dynamics as well. The powerlessness that Jimmy (the main character) feels as the misunderstood middle child mirrors the artist's journey perfectly. Buy it for the talented young person in your life, or just for your own inspiration.
Joe Basile
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids at heart/comic book lovers
i absoluely adore this book. Its a young adult book that I used to use to tutor middle-school kids with. the story is unique and touching- about a boy becoming aware of his talents and gifts as an artist. the book has comic book style chapters in it that the character created. most definitely a feel good/find your place in the world type book.
Jun 25, 2010 added it
Simple, fine. I would rather have read something else, but I was on a train and puzzling over whether the man across from me was a Dutch spy, so this was adequate distraction. It's the kind of very simple coming of age story that a certain sort of person gets very into (cf. Le Petit Prince), but I'm just not in the right mood these days.
Marissa Morrison
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. It's categorized as a children's book, but that's just because the narrator happens to be 10 and there's no sex or violence or difficult vocabulary in the book. The messages about generosity in a family, handling criticism, and the importance of practice for improvement are delivered humorously and with heart by Feiffer.
Zachary Palmer
May 01, 2013 is currently reading it
Shelves: comic
Jimmy just wants his dad to notice him. But his dad refuses to even look at him. Jimmy is different than his dad thinks he is. He's not athletic, not a sports fan matter of fact. Instead of Jimmy talking to his dad, he puts his feelings into his comics. I reccomend this book to people who love to read comics.

Zac Palmer
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA: Boy draws comics, can't draw hands well. Spoiler ahead. [s] 3 28 Apr 07, 2018 03:06PM  
Ceiling Installation 1 1 Oct 27, 2016 03:23AM  
  • The Graduation of Jake Moon
  • Greetings from Planet Earth
  • Farewell, My Lunchbag
  • Is a Camel a Mammal?
  • Douglas Adams' the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: the Authorized Collection (Comic)
  • The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics
  • What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
  • The Green Book
  • Echoes of the White Giraffe
  • Happy Kid!
  • Melusine
  • The Portable Frank
  • Beta Testing the Apocalypse
  • Space Race (Ormingat Trilogy, #1)
  • Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man (The Carl Barks Library, #12)
  • Fallen Words
  • 'Buckingham Palace', District Six
  • American Flagg!, Vol. 1
Jules Feiffer is the acclaimed author-illustrator of several books for children, including BARK, GEORGE; MEANWHILE . . .; and I LOST MY BEAR; and the illustrator of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, by Norton Juster. Jules Feiffer is also a renowned editorial cartoonist, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. He has been the recipient of an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a London Theatre Critics Award, an ...more