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La Perdida

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,872 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
Carla, una norteamericana distanciada de su padre mexicano, decide ir a la capital del país azteca para “encontrarse a sí misma”. Se instala en casa de un antiguo ligue que sigue las huellas de sus héroes William S. Burroughs y Jack Kerouac por los bares de la ciudad. Harry se toma con buen humor la reaparición de Carla en su vida hasta que se da cuenta de que ésta, que se ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Astiberri (first published September 18th 2002)
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Rating details
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Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
When I first started to read La Perdida I really enjoyed it because I was excited to read a graphic novel about a young Mexican-American woman. I also enjoyed the author/artist Jessica Abel's sparsely drawn images of Mexico City landmarks (and Pilsen in Chicago).

Unfortunately, as the story progressed I started to become uncomfortable with the authors negative portrayal of Mexico City/Chilango youth culture. Raw honesty I appreciate, but the author painted a seedy world where you can't trust any
È la storia di una ragazza che parte per trovare se stessa e finisce quasi per perdersi.
Ma il finale è rassicurante.

Cerca di immergersi in un mondo che non conosce (Città del Messico): anche se di padre messicano, non comprende la lingua né ha mai visto prima il paese.
Si impegna per penetrare nella società e nella cultura locale, per diventarne parte, e non limitarsi a conoscerla.
Ma sbaglia approccio - oppure si tratta di un mondo che proprio non le appartiene, non è il suo.

Dec 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: pictorial
Should be called La Dumbass. The heroine(?) of this novel succeeded in irritating me with her idiocy and horrible choices as no one has since....Ann Coulter?

When the drug lord offers you a sample of cocaine, the wise choice is to LEAVE, not take it! Sigh.

I guess I could consider Jessica Abel successful because she created a character who inspired strong feelings in me, even if those feelings were mostly annoyance.
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
I divide this book into two parts, even though it's not formally divided as such. There's such stylistic difference between them, it almost seems like there should be a formal divide. The first part of the book is a coming of age post-college, finding oneself while traveling, open-ended exposition. There's not much plot, just a lot of wondering around and talking to people. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- I really enjoy those types of stories if they're done right. But what stopped me firs ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics-related
I don't even recall how I stumbled across Jessica Abel's La Perdida—probably in doing research on Love & Rockets—but I'm glad I found it. While far from perfect, the first three-fifths of the graphic novel or so are wonderful, and while it kind of devolves into a melodramatic plot that unfortunately reeks of stereotypes of Mexico, overall it is still strongly characterized and well-drawn.

Carla, the protagonist may be a post-college naïve-as-hell gringita prone to willful ignorance and drunke
I have to say, I was extremely lukewarm to this book. It seems like the kind of thing I would like, but overall I didn't see what all the hype was about. The entire plot rests on the main character being annoying, stupid, and so desperate to please her 'real Mexican' friends that she throws common sense out the window. By the end, you just want her to stop white guilt whining about how HARD it is to be privileged and to stop trying to win the favor of people who she can never win over. The endin ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2009
Although it's not a memoir, La Perdida is based on the author's personal experience and is memoir-esque. On the surface, it sounds interesting: a half-Mexican woman goes to Mexico to get more in touch with her cultural heritage. It was pretty well regarded.


I wanted to give it up halfway through the second issue because I was so bored. I just didn't care about anything! All the characters were annoying, and nothing fucking happened. Each issue seemed to be nothing more than
Jeff Jackson
Great texture about life in Mexico City for a young American expat circa the dawn of email, reinforced by detailed and fluid drawing that's reminiscent of early Craig Thompson. What begins as a slice of life narrative turns increasingly macabre, largely without losing its balance. Although some of the emotional outbursts felt forced and a few plot pivots were predictable, I suspect this story of self-delusion disguised as a search for authenticity will stay with me for a while. 3.5 stars.
Jonathan Schildbach
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is more like a 3.5 for me, but I'm rounding up.

In some ways, I think the format of the graphic novel is somewhat limiting to the subject matter, since it involves issues of race and identity, and what it means to be of mixed ethnicity--which is some rather complicated stuff to convey with simple line drawings, dialog and occasional narrative.

The main character, Carla, has grown up in the U.S., always speaking English and only English, but moves to Mexico City and gets caught up in trying t
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
as a graphic novel, i think "La Perdida" is a total success, the way the awesome illustrations tell the story and are supported by the text. i picked it up and started reading and couldn't put it down. brilliant!

unfortunately, the story lacked the depth and analysis about certain issues (class privilege, racism, tokenism..) that would have made it great. the clueless main character annoyed the shit out of me by making horrible choices and basically just being a total idiot. the story offers grea
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
More than anything a coming of age graphic novel where the young person is not only the narrator but their identity and that of a county lurching into the 21st century. The narrative trips over itself a few times and the dialogue can feel a little set-upy instead of natural. But make no mistake. La Perdida is a huge-friggin achievement, amazingly drawn, so sure of its setting in Mexico City and place in time (late 90s) that it feels as much a diary or historical document. Or just a conversation ...more
Ryan Caplinger
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
La Perdida by Jessica Abel
A Review by: Ryan Caplinger

La Perdida by Jessica Abel, is a graphic novel about a half-Mexican and half-American girl named Carla who moved to Mexico to learn about the culture. Carla moved in with her ex-boyfriend, Harry. She tries to fit in, but she looks American and many of the Mexicans don’t like Americans, so she gets ridiculed all the time. Abel shows this when she states that “I was trying to predict exactly how Memo would manage to make me feel like a traitor f
Renee Alberts
Oct 30, 2007 rated it did not like it
Jessica Abel’s sizeable fictional travelogue La Perdida is the annotated postcard of the protagonist Carla’s visit to Mexico to find herself. As she navigates relationships and challenges, from disagreements with her wealthy ex-boyfriend expatriate, Harry to the difficulties of learning an unfamiliar culture, she also journeys through delusion, self-discovery and accountability.

While Carla is not always likeable, Abel’s skillfully expressive bold-line drawings and revealing dialogue keep the rea
Jun 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like identity-search type novels
Jessica Abel’s _La Perdida_ tells the story of Carla, an anglo-mexican U.S. citizen, who in an aimless sojourn in Mexico city falls into various situations and encounters a variety of people, all of which challenge her custom-made American identity. After a brief period of successfully (or so she thinks) acculturating to not only her local community (which include Marxist revolutionaries, drug dealers, and ESL students) but to Mexican society at large, an international incident occurs which ulti ...more
This fantastic graphic novel follows the adventures of a young woman named Carla who embarks on a somewhat misguided journey to Mexico in search of her roots. While she is half Mexican, Carla quickly discovers that her class and cultural background make it impossible for her to ever truly be accepted and fit in with her Mexican friends. Despite this, Carla rejects her ex-pat friends and falls in with Memo, a communist pseudo-intellectual, and his attractive but dim friend Oscar.
Carla's innocence
Mar 19, 2008 added it
Shelves: america, angles, dona
Leídas unas cuantas reseñas aquí, voy a acabar escribiendo sobre algo en lo que no pensaba mientras leía el libro*. Las dos principales objecciones que recibe son el argumento rocambolesco de la segunda parte (estoy de acuerdo) y lo mal que cae la protagonista -es decir, que es difícil identificarse con ella- a lo cual me sale del alma contestar un simple "y qué", no sé si con interrogación o exclamación o ambos.
Carla cae fatal. (Carla se da un aire a Holden Caulfield.) Es una mujer mexicano-ame
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Okay, so this comic has had a lot of attention and it really is very well done. Jessica Abel really captures the nuances of travel - you want to have an authentic experience but as a foreigner, you can never truly experience a country like someone native; while you may be welcomed in a country, you will not necessarily ever seen as anything more than a tourist; the fellowship of other travelers can be both comforting and dis-assimilating at the same time; and yet there is something totally thril ...more
Laura Pamplona
Dec 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is part of my 2016 resolution to read all the books on my shelf that have not been read to this date.

I DID NOT enjoy this book at all. It took me 10 pages to know that Carla was the most naive Mexican-american in the world. This book portrays the Mexican culture as one of low-life people who are selfish and do not care for anything in the world besides themselves. While I do agree that Gringos are treated it different in Latin cultures, I have to disagree in the way Carla was treated..
Stewart Tame
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might, at first glance, be mistaken for autobiography. It feels very natural. A young woman, Carla, travels to Mexico City to, well, find herself, as the saying goes. She stays with an old boyfriend, who is tolerant at first, until he realizes that she has no intention of leaving. Her relationships with the ex-boyfriend, Harry, and her new friends in Mexico City slowly play out over the course of this book. Some of Carla's choices turn out to not be very smart, and it's the playing out of t ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really love the concept of this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first 1/3 of the book, which was 50% in Spanish. It was disappointing when it switched to 100% English. I wish the author would have stuck with the 50% English/50% Spanish model, which made the book really unique.

I also enjoyed the story at the beginning, but it drastically switched gears in the last half of the book, and turned into a depressing chronicle of drug abuse and dysfunctional relationships. This book really wasn't e
Anastasia Zamkinos
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is a nicely done graphic novel in a lot of ways and I enjoyed reading it, but it felt like binging on something that I KNOW is bad for me; while I enjoyed the artistic style and much of the characterization of the protagonist (American Latina gone to Mexico to find her roots), the Mexican culture depicted in its pages felt, especially later in the text, one sided and essentializing (even with the occasional in-character disclaimer). Written by an author not herself Mexican... This felt unco ...more
Dan Bernier
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
3.49 stars - almost, but not quite, enough to round up. Overall, I liked it.

It's a frustrating story, with a frustrating protagonist, but that's besides the point. The story asks a lot of questions about cultural appropriation, and whether it's possible to discard privilege. I wish it could've asked them more forcefully, more clearly.

The art was alright. The focus was on the story, not the art, but there were times where the art hindered instead of helped. There was never a panel I lingered on.
Love, love, love. Her gorgeous, messy, cluttered panels somewhat remind me of Blankets in the best way possible. I feel like if I could settle down and live inside a graphic novel, really inhabit the mind/world of one of these authors, this is the type I'd feel comfortable within. I'd fit in here.

Shoot, here's another Jugs & Capes book that I never reviewed. This was #18, and I didn't really love it. The drawing was great, and the setting was very immersive, but I think I remember the plot being fairly predictable, and the main character being kind of waif-y and spineless and hard to root for.

But it's been awhile since I read it, so I might be way off base.
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I loved the art and the way the story developed. I was expecting it to be more of a meandering autobiography a la "Blankets" (which I also really liked), but appreciated the way the strands of the plot came together.
only half way through but gonna make my notes right now.

I am so absorbed and impressed with this book! Probably not least because it so well reflects my own experience with living abroad (probably going to create some kind of collection for books I've read that are about the expat experience... I am increasingly in awe at how many similarities there are across the different accounts of young people going to live in another country-- the mistakes and travails and joys-- honestly I think everyone
Cameron Doner
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
La Perdida by Jessica Abel
A Review by: Cameron Doner

Recently, I finished the graphic novel La Perdida by Jessica Abel. La Perdida is a mystery/crime about an American character named Carla who moves to Mexico illegally to learn about Mexican culture. Carla is an American girl who wants to learn about Mexican culture, so she decides to move to Mexico to experience Mexican culture as much as she can. This leads to Carla dealing with very bad things such as drugs, fights, kidnappings, and more. Car
Soobie can't sleep at night
Che robe brute!

L'ho preso in biblio così. Non avevo mai letto nulla di Jessica Abel e ho in programma di leggere tutto quello che gli scaffali dei fumetti della biblio di PN offrono. Inoltre avevo visto Trish Trash #1: Rollergirl of Mars e, visto che parla di pattinaggio, mi aveva incuriosito.

Però... Dopo aver letto questo non son mica sicura di leggere altri libri della tipa.

Carla è la nostra protagonista. Abbandonata dal padre messicano decide, ad un certo punto, di trasferirsi a Città del Mes
Adam Williams
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
La Perdida by Jessica Abel
A Book Review by: Adam Williams
If you want to read an action thrilling graphic novel that will make zero sense to you then La Perdida by Jessica Abel is the perfect book for you! When reading the book you will get to page 84 and see that everything will be close to normal with some conflict between the main character Carla and another character in the story. As you read along the page there is a very bad and random transition from her and another character arguing too r
Jessica Allen
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Entering into a foreign country as a solo young person can be a profound and personal experience. Reading about entering into a foreign country as a solo young person more often causes eye rolls and a vague feeling of embarrassment. Despite higher ambitions, La Perdida, a story of a Mexican-American girl staying in Mexico City for a year, can't past its trappings to get to something deeper.

La Perdida is a well, but thinly observed piece of writing, managing to be both sensitive and shallow. At i
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Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida (Pantheon Books) as well as two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics (First Second Books), written in collaboration with her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden. She's also the co-writer of the graphic novel Life Sucks.
Previously, she published Soundtrack and Mirror
More about Jessica Abel

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