Jon Purkis's Reviews > The Quitter

The Quitter by Harvey Pekar
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's review
Apr 16, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: graphic-novels

Harvey Pekar in this book is a hard character to empathise with, he is simultaneously a loser and a bully. He doesn't really explain the origins of why he acts like he does, just that he does. He isn't an unlucky man or a neglected child, it just seems to be his own foolish decision making and immaturity that leads him to failure. Of course, that in itself is his problem, and I'm sure he deserves sympathy, I just found it hard to give it.

The book is a frustrating read, he brushes over the details that seem more interesting and dwells on the mundane minutiae of each job he's had. For example, his childhood is told in painstaking detail, then it rushes through his adulthood with little explanation. Perhaps his adult life is covered in his American Splendor series, but I haven't read that, so felt a bit lost.

The theme of the book is his "quitter" mentality, and despite him discussing this psychology, I was still left wanting. I didn't leave the book with any clarity of what was going on in his head, or what exactly he was trying to tell the reader. Perhaps the confused message is supposed to reflect the confused nature of his personality, but whatever the point was, it simply didn't work for me.

I wouldn't say this book was bad, I am indifferent to it. I come away with nothing, it has had not effect on me. Just looking at the blurb on the back, it describes it as his "funniest and most heartwrenching work yet, an unforgettable graphic novel". I couldn't disagree more. The Quitter inspired in me no emotion, I am at loss at how it could be described as funny, but most of all, I would say it is entirely forgettable.

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