The Smartest Kid on Earth, Jimmy Corrigan

Written by: Chris Ware

The Smartest Kid on Earth, Jimmy Corrigan Book Cover
Jimmy Corrigan has rightly been hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever to be published. It won the Guardian First Book Award 2001, the first graphic novel to win a major British literary prize.

It is the tragic autobiography of an office dogsbody in Chicago who one day meets the father who abandoned him as a child. With a subtle, complex and moving story and the drawings that are as simple and original as they are strikingly beautiful, Jimmy Corrigan is a book unlike any other and certainly not to be missed.
feedback image
Total feedbacks: 70
32
23
5
4
6
Looking for The Smartest Kid on Earth, Jimmy Corrigan in PDF? Check out Scribid.com
Audiobook
Check out Audiobooks.com

The Smartest Kid on Earth Jimmy Corrigan Reviews

Joshua
There wasn't a single person in this book that I liked, and yet it's still one of the most amazing books I've ever read.

Chris Ware is the not the kind of artist that I suspect most readers will appreciate, as most of the characters in this book were arguably the most miserably wretched human beings on the planet. the story was not pleasant, the choices that were made by the characters only resulted in more heart-ache, and by the end of the book there was an overwhelming feeling that one had Bou There wasn't a single person in this book that I liked, and yet it's still one of the most amazing books I've ever read.

Chris Ware is the not the kind of artist that I suspect most readers will appreciate, as most of the characters in this book were arguably the most miserably wretched human beings on the planet. the story was not pleasant, the choices that were made by the characters only resulted in more heart-ache, and by the end of the book there was an overwhelming feeling that one had Bourne witness to an great tragedy. Despite all of this, Jimmy Corrigan should be read because there isn't an artist like Chris Ware.

Every page of this book is a masterwork of design. Ware manages to make decisions about the arrangement of frames and words so that the reader has to work to really process and understand. But even if the reader doesn't fully follow the details of the plot, reading Jimmy Corrigan is often a physical sensation. The reader feels the moments and the near constant attention to the detail of the arrangement, and while that won't leave the reader with a terrific sense of the story, there is a power to this book that one feels when one finishes the last page.

The book follows the life of Jimmy Corrigan, a depressed and pathetic man who works a lousy job and often lives a life that centers around his domineering mother. He receives an invite from the man claiming to be his father and from that point on the book follows Jimmy as he relives his past, discovers his new family, and tries desperately to achieve his one desire: to find someone who might actually like him. I can't say that he succeeds, but his world is one worth experience at least once.
Matthew
I love me some Jimmy Corrigan. The book itself is one of the most layered, nuanced things I've ever read. And while it comes across as relatively straightforward (a sad man visits his estranged father for a weekend), I have a feeling I'll be revisiting and unpacking this book many more times in the years to come.

The illustrations are beautiful in their blocky simplicity, and Ware's design is unlike anything I've come across before in the medium. Navigating between generations and realities, the I love me some Jimmy Corrigan. The book itself is one of the most layered, nuanced things I've ever read. And while it comes across as relatively straightforward (a sad man visits his estranged father for a weekend), I have a feeling I'll be revisiting and unpacking this book many more times in the years to come.

The illustrations are beautiful in their blocky simplicity, and Ware's design is unlike anything I've come across before in the medium. Navigating between generations and realities, the book requires your full attention to make sense of everything. Even after finishing it, I have the feeling there is much I missed. This is a book that will reward the reader upon multiple readings.

Is Jimmy Corrigan one of the saddest protagonists ever created? Quite possibly. But still, in the end, I didn't feel moved in the way that I was hoping for.

A brilliant book, for sure. My only complaint is that it didn't leave with the emotional gut-punch I desperately desired. Perhaps next time around.

4.5 stars.
Tate Ryan
This is huge body of work by the author. The illustrations are picture perfect and the colour work is excellent. However the art is the only thing good about this compilation of jimmy comics. I found the main character truly unbearable. Similar to other 'loser' type characters found in graphic novels. Jimmy just umms and arghs and says sorry page after page after page. I didn't laugh, cry or smirk through the whole thing as it tried to pull me into unconsciousness every time I attempted to read This is huge body of work by the author. The illustrations are picture perfect and the colour work is excellent. However the art is the only thing good about this compilation of jimmy comics. I found the main character truly unbearable. Similar to other 'loser' type characters found in graphic novels. Jimmy just umms and arghs and says sorry page after page after page. I didn't laugh, cry or smirk through the whole thing as it tried to pull me into unconsciousness every time I attempted to read it. I'm sure there are fans of this, especially if you have seen the comic develop over years. But as a new reader, i found it excruciating.
Difficulties with Girls :: Stanley and the Women :: The Cornish Trilogy: The Rebel Angels; What's Bred in the Bone; The Lyre of Orpheus :: The Deptford Trilogy: Fifth Business/The Manticore/World of Wonders :: The Complete Essays
Andrew
Essential reading for anyone who enjoys the comicbook medium. The story is very depressing,like most of Ware's work that I've read. But I think the monotone emotional drone of misery is rather beautiful.
Robert
Great art/technique, but this is wrist-slitting reading at best.
Laura Jokisch
This work astonished me. The complexity communicated in Ware's simplified, tiny pictures. The emotional depth of a character that can't ever do much more than mumble and sniff. And the constant, haunting presence of racism, misogyny, and the lives of black women in a work that is ostensibly 'about' generations of white men.

My only complaint: I wish this book was at least twice as large, so I wasn't always bent-over and squinting at tiny words.
Zizeloni
It is not that I loved this comic, but it objectively is a 5-star book. It is definitely a piece of art.
It is kind of confusing and I found it very depressing, but it is a genius piece of art.
The life of Jimmy was depressing me a lot. I liked his grandfather's story better.
The art was very good and I liked all these weird pages that looked like an old times magazine.
Alyssa
Never ever ever ever ever touching this dictionary-sized depressing insanely over-complicated book that I had to read in FOUR DAYS aGAIN
Courtney Bassett
Jesus Christ, this was bleak. Morose and lonely and beautiful.
Sechavar
Ware's graphic novel was difficult to read. Not always because of his flow, the order in which he intends the reader to read the separate boxes, but mostly because it was incredibly incredibly sad. I almost feel as though this was a long meditation on sadness and on loneliness. And in this long meditation, Ware has made a beautiful rendition of sadness.
The main character, although I am hesitant to call him that because there are other characters we come to know intimately, is Jimmy Corrigan, and Ware's graphic novel was difficult to read. Not always because of his flow, the order in which he intends the reader to read the separate boxes, but mostly because it was incredibly incredibly sad. I almost feel as though this was a long meditation on sadness and on loneliness. And in this long meditation, Ware has made a beautiful rendition of sadness.
The main character, although I am hesitant to call him that because there are other characters we come to know intimately, is Jimmy Corrigan, and he is the latest addition to a long line of sad and frustrated men.

The story is not linear, but after you have all the information, you're able to take a step back and see that the story started before the 20th century. The oldest character in the book, James Corrigan Senior, has memories of his childhood growing up in Chicago with his father, an over bearing man who struggles with his oncoming poverty, and eventually abandon's James at the Chicago World Fair. This abandonment effects him profusely, and the sense of sadness seems to become hereditary, and is passed down to his son, and finally his grandson. It manages to even take hold in his adopted black granddaughter.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is how similar Ware makes these male characters. The family resemblance is impeccably, especially between Corrigan Senior and his grandson Jimmy when they are both little kids. They share the same lank, thin hair, small eyes that, perched on top of round cheeks could be filled with delight one minutes and balling the next. They look like little boys with the heads of the old men they will become, perhaps to illustrate that they are particularly sensitive and will come to know and live through their fair shares of grief.

The plot is that the youngest incarnation of Jimmy Corrigan has heard from his long lost father, a man Jimmy can't remember ever meeting. He wants to have Thanksgiving together. Jimmy goes to meet him and learns that his father, while jovial, seems somewhat pathetic living in a cheap apartment, working at a cheap airport bar and with a particularly dated view of women. But his father also has a daughter, a young black woman who was adopted by a white woman who then married Jimmy's father. So in a strange turn, Jimmy senior and Jimmy the Younger, are seemingly adrift without family they feel particularly connected to, while middle aged Jimmy has had this young woman's affection for years, perhaps the defining factor in why he doesn't seem as sad as his predecessor and descendant.

The story is rather convoluted, but Ware does an amazing job getting the reader the information they need to decipher it. And most surprisingly he does this mainly without text. Many of the pages are just pictures, and the characters' facial expressions, reactions to awkward (sometimes INCREDIBLY AWKWARD)situations, and plain day dreams all serve to illustrate their desires, fears, and memories without relying on actual written language. It's a daunting undertaking, as can be seen by the sheer size and girth of the book. There isn't a single blank page. And while I've read the book, I still haven't READ the book. There's still a good hand full of things I can go back and read, and that's just the inside covers.

Ware's work has re-solidified the ability for pictures to tell a compelling story. After reading it I felt sad and bereft, and began to pay more attention to my own silences and the pictures that played out in my head, a central theme to this book. While a story about several characters and how they come to know sadness and loneliness in their own way, the book almost seems to be about just one person, the sort of entwined, single person that Jimmy makes with his great grandfather, especially the same awkward, lonely child they both were, and in may ways, still are.
Williwaw
This is possibly the saddest book that I have ever read. Sure, it is a "comic book," but don't let the format fool you into thinking that this is light reading. This is serious, disturbing stuff. It's not totally lacking in humor, but the prevailing themes are loss, rejection, death, crippling emotional and physical wounds, alienation, and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Chris Ware is a genius of panelology (albet, extremely rectilinear panelology) and color. He's also good at employing leitmotif This is possibly the saddest book that I have ever read. Sure, it is a "comic book," but don't let the format fool you into thinking that this is light reading. This is serious, disturbing stuff. It's not totally lacking in humor, but the prevailing themes are loss, rejection, death, crippling emotional and physical wounds, alienation, and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Chris Ware is a genius of panelology (albet, extremely rectilinear panelology) and color. He's also good at employing leitmotifs, which recur in memories, dreams, or even in the actual present (a couple of examples: Superman, and a miniature toy leaden horse, both of which morph in uncanny ways during dreams, daydreams, and memories).

Come to think of it, the whole book is extremely non-linear. The basic storyline concerns a trip that the adult Jimmy takes to visit his father for the first time. Jimmy was abandoned by his father, either during infancy or before he was born. He and "Dad" are planning to have Thanksgiving dinner together during this trip, but Jimmy abruptly returns home for reasons that you'll have to discover for yourself. That is the basic "plot."

Upon this simple framework, Ware weaves the complicated fabric of Jimmy's memories, family history, daydreams, and fantasies. (Warning: there are plenty of disturbing sexual fantasies and incidents in this book, so you might not want to give it to your 9 year old son or daughter.)

Perhaps strangest of all, much of the book is devoted to the childhood of Jimmy's grandfather (at least, I think it's the grandfather), who was also abandoned by his own father at the Columbian Exposition (an extravagant "World's Fair" event in Chicago, 1893). Grandpa's Pa, a cruel bastard, takes nine-year-old Grandpa to a panoramic perch overlooking the city. The excursion is supposed to be a "birthday present," (a trip to the Fair) but in actuality, great-gramps has planned on dumping his kid off there in advance.

Most kids are terrified of abandonment, so you'd think that Ware would address this. Imagine that you are a child, brought by your father to the top of a large building. From a precipitous perch, you look over the city of Chicago. When you turn around, you realize that you are alone. You have been abandoned.

You would probably flip out. The terror would probably be compounded by the vertiginous, wide open space. But Ware stops here and fast forwards to the present. It turns out that Grandpa has been telling this childhood story to his adoptive grand-daughter, who is working on a family history project for school. Grandpa simply explains, in matter-of-fact fashion, that this is how he came to be brought up in an orphanage.

Perhaps Ware pulls out of the grandfather's story so abruptly because it strengthens the emotional disengagement of the narrative. We see so many painful things in this book, but for the most part, we are left to imagine the emotional impact for ourselves. Maybe this was a deliberate tactic. In a way, it makes the book more powerful. There is absolutely no psycho-babble in this book.

The first time I read this book, I had recently finished "The Devil in the White City," which is a True Crime/History book that focuses on the Columbian Exposition of 1893. It definitely made Jimmy Corrigan an even more interesting read!

One final warning: reading this book can be a logistical challenge, especially if you are the wrong side of 40+. The lettering is often so tiny that it's barely readable, and the flow from panel to panel can get somewhat complicated. So you need to have a high tolerance for the comic-book format and some good reading glasses. Also, this is not a quick read. Plan on spending about 5 hours on this.
Elizabeth La Lettrice
I wanted to give this one 3 stars but I bumped it up with the following explanation:

There is definitely genius here in this book, though I was too absorbed in other things to fully see it. I had to do an inter-library loan for this book and it finally came when I had already gotten deep enough into Les Misérables's more duller parts. I was afraid that if I stopped reading Les Mis, I might stop forever (oh, the horror!). Then Hurricane Sandy bitched her way into NY and that was yet another distra I wanted to give this one 3 stars but I bumped it up with the following explanation:

There is definitely genius here in this book, though I was too absorbed in other things to fully see it. I had to do an inter-library loan for this book and it finally came when I had already gotten deep enough into Les Misérables's more duller parts. I was afraid that if I stopped reading Les Mis, I might stop forever (oh, the horror!). Then Hurricane Sandy bitched her way into NY and that was yet another distraction. Thanksgiving also. The excuses keep coming. Needlesstosay, I renewed this book a total of 5 times at the library and it got to the point where I was just rushing through it in an attempt to add to my Goodreads goal. I got 1/2 way through and still had no idea what was going on, was about to give up, until I decided to read a couple of reviews on here. People LOVE this book. At that point I was still confused but through my review reading, I realized I was confused because the book was following multiple storylines of two characters with the same name. I was obviously THAT distracted that I didn't even realize this. After I went through those reviews, I gave this one a little more attention and was glad I did. The artwork and creativity that went into this book is astounding which is why I'm not surprised Chris Ware evolved into another work of art/genius that came out more recently, Building Stories. I'm going to take a bit of a pause before I pick that one up only because I don't want it to fall by the wayside like Jimmy Corrigan almost did. That one will definitely get my undivided attention. Jimmy Corrigan will again some day - when I'm not so distracted. But I won't let him suffer under a 3 star rating due to my own faults.
Hone Haapu
I am not a believer of continuums. That objects can be quantified on a scale of ideal at one end and then less ideal at the other. Admittedly this is what Goodreads boils down to, but the problem in both of these instances is subjectivity. For example, Spiegelman's Maus collection didn't stay with me the same way Jimmy Corrigan did after turning the final page. But in this instance, I feel that Maus should have had more of an impact, it is after based on a real life story and is a Pulitzer Prize I am not a believer of continuums. That objects can be quantified on a scale of ideal at one end and then less ideal at the other. Admittedly this is what Goodreads boils down to, but the problem in both of these instances is subjectivity. For example, Spiegelman's Maus collection didn't stay with me the same way Jimmy Corrigan did after turning the final page. But in this instance, I feel that Maus should have had more of an impact, it is after based on a real life story and is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Or for example your run of the mill super hero caper - the last thing a lot of readers want is for content or themes to linger in their minds after the final chapter. These comics are often read for escapism, and packaged as easily digestible stories. But not this graphic novel.

Jimmy Corrigan the smartest Kidd on Earth is a story about a father and son meeting each other for the first time. The story plays out in between the paternal flashbacks from the childhoods of three generations of Corrigans.

Ware's work can be hard to follow at times, in between the protagonists' day dreams and flashbacks, it is hard to know which generation we are looking at - or if the action is real or imagined. But the information is there for the discerning eye. The story is rich in symbolism and thematically driven. The author doesn't bother to hold one's hand and logically guide the reader through the action, but uses symbols and the conspicuous withholding of incidents to shape the mood and world of Jimmy Corrigan.

Deadpan but hard hitting, this story reminded me a lot of the claymation Mary and Max from Australian director Adam Elliot. Jimmy Corrigan employs a muted palette and a simplified panel flow, that reinforces the methodical and simple minded approach of the eponymous main character.

Overall a heavy read, but something very unique and worthwhile in the genre of graphic novels.
Kayla
I was recommended this book for the artwork. I loved the artwork, the author, Ware, was able to say so much, with just the layout alone and of course the images themselves. No space inside or outside was wasted (or the dust cover) was wasted. On every panel, every surface there was something interesting to look at. As for the story, when I just picked this up my first thoughts were, "What the hell am I reading?" and "What is this about?" The story is a little confusing as to where it is going, i I was recommended this book for the artwork. I loved the artwork, the author, Ware, was able to say so much, with just the layout alone and of course the images themselves. No space inside or outside was wasted (or the dust cover) was wasted. On every panel, every surface there was something interesting to look at. As for the story, when I just picked this up my first thoughts were, "What the hell am I reading?" and "What is this about?" The story is a little confusing as to where it is going, it seems like it's a bunch of images or shorter stories (comics) plastered together onto a page, until the last 100 pages or so, when things start to come together and make sense.

In the end you'll realize that this is the story of a person (people) isolated by their peers and the complex relationship between family, especially that of father and son. There are also wonderfully placed bits of symbolism throughout this story for instance when Amy (Jimmy's adopted half sister) says that the resemblance between Grandpa and Jimmy is striking which plays into the fact that both of their father's left the picture. The story is also told in the perspective of Jimmy and Grandpa as a boy. However at least Jimmy's father tried to make up for his absence before he died. Overall the story can get a bit weird or confusing and although the layout says so much it can also hinder the flow of the story by disorienting the reader, at some points it's hard to know which panel to look at next. However I found it interesting. The story is also so awkward that it's realistic. I can see this story as a weird Indie film.
bup
God help me, but I'm addicted to lists. So when I saw a goodreads friend had a shelf of 'Guardian 1000' top novels, I had to know what it was. So far I've been able to resist the temptation to make my own shelf at goodreads to keep track of it, but I did download the list from the Guardian website and import it into a spreadsheet. The list doesn't quite ping my O/C tracking instinct enough, though, because among the books I noticed a misspelled author's name, an entry for the 'book' "The Chronic God help me, but I'm addicted to lists. So when I saw a goodreads friend had a shelf of 'Guardian 1000' top novels, I had to know what it was. So far I've been able to resist the temptation to make my own shelf at goodreads to keep track of it, but I did download the list from the Guardian website and import it into a spreadsheet. The list doesn't quite ping my O/C tracking instinct enough, though, because among the books I noticed a misspelled author's name, an entry for the 'book' "The Chronicles of Narnia," and even worse, an entry for the 'book' by Terry Pratchett "The Discworld Series."

Guardian, please.

If your compartmentalization is that sloppy, you don't deserve my O/C efforts. You gotta give if you wanna get back.

Anyway, the list reminded me that I read this book, and loved it, and what the heck, I'll say it's a novel. Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan comics in an alternate Chicago paper actually inspired me to create a webcomic for a while. So I guess it's fair to say Jimmy Corrigan affected me quite a bit.

Without getting overly analytical, and losing the forest for the trees, I want to point out that having Jimmy Corrigan be the only character to have facial features was profoundly effective. This book captures that feeling of modern disconnection from other humans like no other book I've ever read. It's a beautiful sad feeling.
Andrew
I couldn't put it down. It was so revealing, sad and human at it's core. Uncomfortable at times when I was perhaps too able to relate to the characters but ultimately I was a satisfying read. A gentle reminder that life could be worse and that either way it'll end. While death is a part of the story it's not necessarily a main theme. The subtextual theme I pulled from it is the unfulfilled life, which I see as a form of death. The only kind of death that can be rattled away with a hard shake of I couldn't put it down. It was so revealing, sad and human at it's core. Uncomfortable at times when I was perhaps too able to relate to the characters but ultimately I was a satisfying read. A gentle reminder that life could be worse and that either way it'll end. While death is a part of the story it's not necessarily a main theme. The subtextual theme I pulled from it is the unfulfilled life, which I see as a form of death. The only kind of death that can be rattled away with a hard shake of courage. Though we don't see much courage at all in this read.

Artistically, Chris Ware is a machine. The artwork and form in which the story is presented is unparalleled. The attention to detail, the draftsmanship, the sharpness of the lines are unbelievable knowing that it's all rendered using hand tools and little computer aid. I heard the style described as icy but I completely disagree. The crisp style suggests the reality in which we all so often try to escape. The reality of mortality, of bad things happening, of loneliness. It's just truths in linear form. Maybe that could be called cold but really it's just life.

It begins bleak and just continues to get worse but thoroughly enjoyable along the way. It might be a tad soul-crushing, but sometimes that's what we need to remember that we are all a bit lonely and human.
Suzanne Moore
I don't read graphic novels often, but this was one that came highly recommended. It took awhile to figure out that the story was flipping between dreams and reality, and flashing back to previous generations. The pictures were nicely detailed and I did rely on them to figure out parts where the wording was vague. It was extremely hard to read the small type at times, and I don't wear glasses ... maybe I should.

The story was very depressing overall. Jimmy, a middle-aged social outcast meets his f I don't read graphic novels often, but this was one that came highly recommended. It took awhile to figure out that the story was flipping between dreams and reality, and flashing back to previous generations. The pictures were nicely detailed and I did rely on them to figure out parts where the wording was vague. It was extremely hard to read the small type at times, and I don't wear glasses ... maybe I should.

The story was very depressing overall. Jimmy, a middle-aged social outcast meets his father for the first time ever. He learns about his father and grandfather's dysfunctional past, meets a black half-sister, and deals with his father's sudden death. Some of these revelations had racial overtones, an honest, but discouraging look at society through the years. He has a co-dependent relationship with his mother, who is living in a nursing home (?) and unexpectedly decides to marry. Jimmy's life is unbearable throughout ... lonely and purposeless. In the end he may be in for a change ... a casual encounter at work, with a girl in the cubicle next to his, could lead to the start of a friendship he desperately needs.
M. Rephun
I don't have much to add about Chris Ware's brilliant graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The smartest kid on Earth, that hasn't already been said. Yes, it is incredibly sad. The characters move like ghosts through the alienated landscape they inhabit, and their loneliness is palpable. When the title character, a doughy, middle-aged loner, stammers that he just wants people to like him, it hits home in ways that are almost disturbing.
Some may be put off at first by the book's dense symbolism and int I don't have much to add about Chris Ware's brilliant graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The smartest kid on Earth, that hasn't already been said. Yes, it is incredibly sad. The characters move like ghosts through the alienated landscape they inhabit, and their loneliness is palpable. When the title character, a doughy, middle-aged loner, stammers that he just wants people to like him, it hits home in ways that are almost disturbing.
Some may be put off at first by the book's dense symbolism and intricate timeline, which shifts back and forth from the childhood of Jimmy's grandfather at the turn of the century, to the present, in which Jimmy is trying to re-connect with his own absentee father. As the above descripition suggests, Jimmy Corrigan is not light reading. Indeed, if it weren't for Ware's deft handling of the material and occasional touches of humor, the story would be almost unbearably bleak. Persistence is rewarding, though, as this proves to be an extremely moving story, one whose raw depiction of loneliness will haunt you long after you've read the final page.

- M. Rephun, July 29, 2009
Holly
Jimmy Corrigan leads a lonely, sad life w/ little human interaction outside his overly needy mother and his vivid imagination when he receives a letter from a man claiming to be his father, asking him to visit. Jimmy climbs aboard a plane and has a bizarre and whirlwind visit, w/ flashbacks from his grandfather's experiences in Chicago before the World's Fair.

The drawing in this graphic novel are AMAZING. This is a work of art. The silence and aloneness evoked by the drawings are eerie and perfe Jimmy Corrigan leads a lonely, sad life w/ little human interaction outside his overly needy mother and his vivid imagination when he receives a letter from a man claiming to be his father, asking him to visit. Jimmy climbs aboard a plane and has a bizarre and whirlwind visit, w/ flashbacks from his grandfather's experiences in Chicago before the World's Fair.

The drawing in this graphic novel are AMAZING. This is a work of art. The silence and aloneness evoked by the drawings are eerie and perfect. As the reader moves from scene to scene, one can feel the quiet snowfall, see the lonely cafes visited by Jimmy and his dad, dream Jimmy's dreams.

From the epilogue, the story is *loosely* based on Chris Ware's life. An excellent portrayal of how one generation and their choices bleed into the next...a series of single parent families w/ missing fathers/mothers and shallow relationships. This book is about a failure to connect, to find meaning, or the futility of looking for meaning in all the wrong places, all while the world moves on, we age, leaves fall from the trees.
Michelle Cristiani
Like many people, I take easily to books that have a clear beginning, middle, and end, complete with resolution. Jimmy Corrigan is not that book. It meanders, wanders, flashes back and forward and sideways. It goes from graphic novel to novel to collage to optical illusion. In short, it is confusing and frankly, sometimes very frustrating.

But there's no denying the genius that is Chris Ware. His attention to detail is astounding. He absolutely, without question, challenges the genre, stretches Like many people, I take easily to books that have a clear beginning, middle, and end, complete with resolution. Jimmy Corrigan is not that book. It meanders, wanders, flashes back and forward and sideways. It goes from graphic novel to novel to collage to optical illusion. In short, it is confusing and frankly, sometimes very frustrating.

But there's no denying the genius that is Chris Ware. His attention to detail is astounding. He absolutely, without question, challenges the genre, stretches it, bends it. I've never seen anything like it.

I knew he was genius when the character stammered, and then the door the character shut also stammered in its click. I knew it in the epilogue when threads are repeated quietly, like whispers. I knew it when I got tired of reading the words and just held the pages away from me and stared at the drawing. In images and words, it's novel and a more than a little mind-bending. Honestly I don't even know if I loved it. But my mind opened up to possibilities while reading it. That alone is an easy 5 stars.
Mcgyver5
Masterful work and would have given it five stars except it was almost without hope or satisfaction. This took a long time for seemingly unrelated stories and dream sequences to coalesce into a story. The book helps distract you from your confusion with repeated gut punches of loneliness and awkwardness.

There were several instances of laugh-out-loud black humor. There were way more sequences that made me fold over in psychic pain.

Has scenes from the Chicago World's Fair that would make it a grea Masterful work and would have given it five stars except it was almost without hope or satisfaction. This took a long time for seemingly unrelated stories and dream sequences to coalesce into a story. The book helps distract you from your confusion with repeated gut punches of loneliness and awkwardness.

There were several instances of laugh-out-loud black humor. There were way more sequences that made me fold over in psychic pain.

Has scenes from the Chicago World's Fair that would make it a great partner to Devil in the White City
S
3.5 stars. The artwork is some of the best in the genre, as has been stated elsewhere, rightfully. The story, if it can be called that, captures all the low points and myriad anticlimaxes of life dreadfully well, and cuts out all the good parts. Jimmy Corrigan is a representation of all my worst traits, and all of the worst traits of people in the modern world: timidity to the point of inactivity, parasitic passivity; a tremulous squalor that has roots in the core and that welds people to their 3.5 stars. The artwork is some of the best in the genre, as has been stated elsewhere, rightfully. The story, if it can be called that, captures all the low points and myriad anticlimaxes of life dreadfully well, and cuts out all the good parts. Jimmy Corrigan is a representation of all my worst traits, and all of the worst traits of people in the modern world: timidity to the point of inactivity, parasitic passivity; a tremulous squalor that has roots in the core and that welds people to their miserable status quo. One of the few "graphic novels" that aspires to the subtleties and complexities of well-done traditional literature.
Squeasel
Kind of a soul-destroyingly bleak portrayal of the impossibility/necessity of true connection with anyone outside the solitary confinement of our own skulls. Effective.

If this were a film, I couldn't imagine anyone other than Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the title character. And, well, that's not going to happen.

Ha. I'm now imagining an epilogue (or continuing-adventures/prolonging-torment) where Jimmy Corrigan discovers heroin as the best solution so far for his pain. (it doesn't end well, so Kind of a soul-destroyingly bleak portrayal of the impossibility/necessity of true connection with anyone outside the solitary confinement of our own skulls. Effective.

If this were a film, I couldn't imagine anyone other than Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the title character. And, well, that's not going to happen.

Ha. I'm now imagining an epilogue (or continuing-adventures/prolonging-torment) where Jimmy Corrigan discovers heroin as the best solution so far for his pain. (it doesn't end well, sort of Burrough's Junkie's Xmas meets Terry Gilliam's Brazil)
Christopher
I won't pretend that reading this was enjoyable (great literature can be difficult, even off-putting at times) but this graphic novel, in many ways, fulfills the promise of the medium. By that I mean that the way the story is told is such that it could only be done in a graphic format, not a novel or even a movie. While the story is simple on it's face, the depth of characterization and the richness of the symbolism do put this, in my opinion, not just in the top tier of graphic novels, but in t I won't pretend that reading this was enjoyable (great literature can be difficult, even off-putting at times) but this graphic novel, in many ways, fulfills the promise of the medium. By that I mean that the way the story is told is such that it could only be done in a graphic format, not a novel or even a movie. While the story is simple on it's face, the depth of characterization and the richness of the symbolism do put this, in my opinion, not just in the top tier of graphic novels, but in the realm of great literature in general.
Arminzerella
It's possible that I didn't give this a fair chance, but I have plenty of other things on my to-read list that I do want to get to. This was just too strange and too mundane all at the same time. One of my friends told me this was her favorite book. Ever. She is a connoisseur of the badly bizarre, though, and my tastes run more to quirky, but lovable. I could not love Jimmy Corrigan. Not really.
Ezgi
I don't really care for graphic novels - it's not that i particularly dislike them, but i do not think about picking one out as the next to read. This was recommended to me by a friend whose judgment i trust and it was one of the most effective, incredibly sad and real books i've ever read. The drawings contained all the emotions and it really conveyed all that a novel could without using so many words(maybe even more). It is exceptional.
Betty
Touches the deepest and perhaps darkest part of ourselves, about our helplessness of not belonging, not knowing how to handle relationships that are not taught to us, not used to the isolation of the city, like a child, yet all along, have to be a grown up. I am also impressed by Ware's use of the panels to reveal things/history about characters in a subtle way.
Melissa
Good god, this book is depressing, and it made me have a dream about my father dying. But I love love love! the artwork, so detailed and lovely. The panel where he's waiting for his father to come back & get him at the fair that reads, "Of course he never did," with the looming building and wee Jimmy at the very top? Awesome.
Michael
Don't hesitate to step into a Chris Ware work at your first opportunity--just be sure to give it the space it deserves. Time spent with Jimmy Corrigan is transportive, taking you to places both alien and familiar.
Marijan
Definitely one of the most memorable pieces of fiction I've ever read, despite the fact that its bleakness and monotony (or the monotony of its bleakness), although fantastically atmospheric and filmic, can get a little exhausting. The level of detail and the effort put into the book is almost overwhelming. A difficult read but a must read all the same.
Lisa
This is the strangest graphic novel I have encountered so far. The panels were confusing at first, but extremely detailed. The order of the panels started to make more sense as the story proceeded. I liked how well the plot developed and how much of everyone's story was told. There were so many sad moments and this book certainly made me feel something.
Ryan Werner
Jesus Murphy, that one flashback section is long as hell.

Other than that, this is a great book with an astounding layout/artistic direction, and others who loved it a bit more have plenty of worthwhile things to say about it.
Trevor
Stark landscapes tell the story of isolation and insecurity as a boy struggles to understand what it is to not have a father, even when he is present. Travels time beautifully. Imaginative "what if" mental adventures make the story even sadder than it already is. Great read.
Lui Vega
This was one of the most satisfying and engrossing things I've ever read. Bleak, beautiful, and an altogether painfully accurate dissection of the life of a sad, socially stunted, lonely man. Man I fucking loved this.
Matt Knippel
what a devastating and beautiful work. I'm in awe. I heard it was amazing but just... wow. just a deeply effective work of comic.
Clark
It's obviously amazing. I mean, shit, LOOK AT IT. It's just that it's an Auschwitz of the mind, that's all.
Summer
This is a fantastically illustrated and written book, but lord have mercy is it ever depressing. Excellent rebuttal to the "but comics aren't literature" argument.
Kevin Kelley
This is the first graphic novel that I've read and it broke my heart more than three times.
Andrew Choptiany
Painful and amazing. Really nice tangents and just incredible artwork. Clings to a plot despite putting a lot of effort into making you realize the plot isn't that important.
Lise Petrauskas
I didn't start really getting into this until about halfway through. I'm so glad I stuck with it.
Coleman
Experience an Oscar-Bait Indie Drama in Graphic Novel Form!

I think I've read enough of the "greatest comics of ALL TIME" to admit that I'm just not intellectual enough to understand why they're considered the best. Much like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Jimmy Corrigan is bleak and relentless, only on a smaller scale and featuring perhaps the most pathetic protagonist I have ever encountered.

The story is actually four stories tied together, featuring four Corrigans of four generations wh Experience an Oscar-Bait Indie Drama in Graphic Novel Form!

I think I've read enough of the "greatest comics of ALL TIME" to admit that I'm just not intellectual enough to understand why they're considered the best. Much like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Jimmy Corrigan is bleak and relentless, only on a smaller scale and featuring perhaps the most pathetic protagonist I have ever encountered.

The story is actually four stories tied together, featuring four Corrigans of four generations who all have strained relationships with their parents. At the heart of these four timelines is Jimmy, a 36-year-old cubicle farm drone, who is the literal embodiment of a sad sack. He lives alone, takes harassing calls from his retired mother, and generally mopes about Chicago while looking for a Superman-like hero. One day he receives a message from his father, who abandoned him and his mother when Jimmy was a child, and his father offers to fly him to the Godforsaken small town where he lives so the two can get to know each other. What follows are dream sequences, flashbacks, and awkward conversations between Jimmy and the world around him. Oh and everyone is sad. Really, really sad.

I don't like giving this such a low rating because the art is often breathtaking. Chris Ware has a clean, simple style that I think will resonate with people who enjoy symmetry in their art, and a more graphic design aesthetic. The lines are sharp and the colors are crisp, and each setting and character really pops. But for crying out loud the story is just so needlessly long and depressing. There are pages upon pages of this book that relive parental abandonment, bullying, suicide, alcoholism, racism, and death with no respite. No comic relief or warmth in any of the characters will ever give you a break from this mournful parade.

And who should be the grand marshal of this parade but Jimmy Corrigan. I believe the author intended for the reader to feel sorry for Jimmy and be sympathetic towards his suffering but I just wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him, because I'm not sure if he was even awake for the entirety of the novel. He never says anything of value. He just sits and stares, and sometimes stutters or laughs nervously. I get that some characters don't have to speak in graphic novels because it's a visual medium, but when the character just sits all the time and says nothing, what am I supposed to learn about this character? What are his interests? How does he feel about other characters besides wanting to have sex with every woman he meets? What does he even do for a living? I have no idea because he never says anything, and more importantly, he never DOES anything. You can't care about a character you don't know anything about, and you can't watch him grow and change because there was nothing to grow from. It's like planting a tree in the middle of the Sahara dessert, all you're gonna get is out of it is a pile of dry, boring sand.

AND SO

Read this book if you really feel compelled to read all of the "great" graphic novels or if you just like feeling sad. The novel has other problems with confusing panel arrangement and microscopic print that I would often end up skipping rather than straining to decipher. I probably would've overlooked these minor issues and actually read the minute cursive fonts if Jimmy was in any way interesting or worth rooting for. But he is just a snivelly little milquetoast with no redeemable qualities, and he seems like he doesn't want to participate in his own story. Why, therefore, should anyone bother reading it?
Nick Seeger
This is the kind of book that makes you rethink the way you think about books.

Some books get a good rating because they resonate with you in some pleasurable way - you like them. Some books get a good rating because you felt something either good, bad or indescribable. Other books get a good rating because you can see their value and the genius of the author comes across in the work.

Most of the time I don’t have to think very hard about which of these measures I am using to rate a book, it jus This is the kind of book that makes you rethink the way you think about books.

Some books get a good rating because they resonate with you in some pleasurable way - you like them. Some books get a good rating because you felt something either good, bad or indescribable. Other books get a good rating because you can see their value and the genius of the author comes across in the work.

Most of the time I don’t have to think very hard about which of these measures I am using to rate a book, it just happens naturally. This book however is not like other books. It actually reminded me a lot of a Will Eisner story in that the characters all seem broken in such a way that you can’t help but feel for them. It’s not pity per-se, but a sort of empathy that transcends the ugliness of raw humanity.

Although in many respects I did not like the book, I can easily recognize the merit of it’s construction. You couldn’t tell a story like this in any other medium than a graphic novel. The eponymous “Jimmy” was present on every page, and yet was simultaneously not present through much of the book depending on whom you consider the title character to be. I still don’t know.

It seemed the non-linear structure of the narrative was imposed on the story rather than a device by which the story was being told. As such I spent much of the book trying to keep hold of one plot thread while simultaneously failing to immerse myself in another. That being said, the confusion produced by the juxtaposition of plot threads may have contributed greatly to the effect of the book, as many generations of pain, sadness, regret and loss overlap and intensify the pathos of poor little Jimmy.

Two other images linger in my mind when thinking about the book, the girl with the red hair and masked men in capes. Both images seem fraught with complicated emotion for the protagonist in a way that I haven’t experienced in traditional books. This form of visual storytelling encourages the eye to read into the minute details, and as symbols, they pick up meaning as you go. So much so that to see a man in mask or the hint of a cape started to give me a feeling of dread towards the end of the book.

Ultimately, I’ve decided to upgrade my rating from 4-5 stars, as my earlier rating was based on my gut feeling for the book upon its completion. A day later, I can see that the way I felt while reading differs greatly from my estimation of its worth. This is definitely a difficult book, but well worth reading.
Katherine
I remember a professor calling this the "Ulysses of graphic novels." It's an apt description. Jimmy Corrigan slips in and out of dream and reality, through past and present, into a cohesive and beautiful story. Ware's artwork is impeccable and the sheer volume of it is impressive. Both art and story are... precise.

Jimmy Corrigan as a character is depressing and awkward, as he stumbles through each interaction. Ware has described him as "a lonely, emotionally-impaired human castaway." And a New I remember a professor calling this the "Ulysses of graphic novels." It's an apt description. Jimmy Corrigan slips in and out of dream and reality, through past and present, into a cohesive and beautiful story. Ware's artwork is impeccable and the sheer volume of it is impressive. Both art and story are... precise.

Jimmy Corrigan as a character is depressing and awkward, as he stumbles through each interaction. Ware has described him as "a lonely, emotionally-impaired human castaway." And a New Yorker article by Peter Schjeldahl called Corrigan a "potato-headed, hypersensitive office worker... who lacks any notable personal resource except a limitless capacity for mental suffering." The book explores masculinity, action (and inaction), time, and more. Ware has said that he didn't intend for it to be particularly sad, but rather than he wanted it to feel real (here's a link to a great interview he did with Time in 2000). And indeed, it feels frustratingly real.

I don't want to spend too long describing and reviewing a book that can really only be read. It will be depressing and confusing at times, but it comes together in the end. I didn't finish it the first time I started, and this can only be my highest recommendation if you decide to give it a go: finish it. It will be worth it. The first hundred pages are definitely more abstract than the remainder, and if you were to listen to Ware he would say that the latter half is where it really comes together. I can't agree more, although I wouldn't be so depreciative of his first hundred pages.

If you're interested at all in graphic novels as a medium, this is a must-read. If you have a friend who doesn't believe graphic novels can be literary, this has been the go-to book to shove in their face for almost two decades. Other standard choices would be Persepolis, Fun Home, Black Hole, Asterios Polyp, etc.

I'll leave off with something I head Ware say when I saw him speak a few years ago, a quote that I couldn't help but write down immediately after hearing it: "We should all be inspired by something unfathomable greater than ourselves." And perhaps Ware and his work are a lesson that the things we find unfathomably greater can, in fact, become tangible... But what do I know.
Daniel Zhou
'Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth', was the first graphic novel I had read since probably the beginning of Year 7. This book, in my opinion, did a great job in reintroducing me to a genre which I had previously adored and enjoyed reading.

Previously, most of the graphic novels I read had a very basic plot, and it was the interesting and unique picture within them that made me want to read them in the first place. I imagined them as if they were adult picture books, and allowed the pictur 'Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth', was the first graphic novel I had read since probably the beginning of Year 7. This book, in my opinion, did a great job in reintroducing me to a genre which I had previously adored and enjoyed reading.

Previously, most of the graphic novels I read had a very basic plot, and it was the interesting and unique picture within them that made me want to read them in the first place. I imagined them as if they were adult picture books, and allowed the pictures to tell me the story instead of the lines of text.

'Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth' managed to incorporate a detailed plot with beautifully drawn pictures to create a book that had the perfect balance of the two features mentioned above. I especially love how the author of the book, Chris Ware, made each page visually different. Forcing the reader to read the book both horizontally and vertically, as well as changing the size and number of frames on each page reminded me of the unique aspect a graphic novel can bring that normal novels cannot.

Apart from being a bit confusing at times (mainly due to me not knowing in which order I should read the frames), I really enjoyed reading this graphic novel in my spare time. I do not normally enjoy reading books about bullying and depression, but the illustrations throughout the book helped lighten up the mood, and helped make it a less depressing read. The only real problem for me was the font selection. Some of the fonts used within the book were extremely hard to read, and it was extremely annoying for me to have to stop and decipher the writing before being allowed to continue on. I'm gonna give this book 4/5 gold stars.
Oh, and why does the book have such a misleading title? The kid isn't even that smart...
Frank
I have to say something about Jimmy Corrigan that I honestly don't like saying.

I didn't get it.

I'm reading all the praise about it and I simply don't understand where it all comes from. Maybe it's because i'm reading it 17 years after it was first published, and things have changed since then, but while reading it, a few things struck me, the first and strongest was that I was simply looking forward to it to end, which is usually one of my first inclinations that what I'm reading is just not for I have to say something about Jimmy Corrigan that I honestly don't like saying.

I didn't get it.

I'm reading all the praise about it and I simply don't understand where it all comes from. Maybe it's because i'm reading it 17 years after it was first published, and things have changed since then, but while reading it, a few things struck me, the first and strongest was that I was simply looking forward to it to end, which is usually one of my first inclinations that what I'm reading is just not for me. I enjoyed the presentation, the mosaic of panels made this instantly stand out from many other graphic novels I've read, but when half of the panels are simple repeated images of the protagonist's dumbstruck face and awkward posturing, it kind of lost it's charm very quickly. I can understand the purpose, I think. The story is all about the awkwardness that comes with a social misfit being put into a semi-forced bonding situation with his estranged father and (eventually) sister, a situation I can 100% empathize with, but it doesn't make for interesting reading.

Perhaps that's what makes it so beloved. It's a testament to awkward relationships and reads like a early 2000's indie drama. Perhaps I'm just not the audience it seeks out, or perhaps I'm just easily bored by slogging slow narratives about boring people. Either way, my conclusion is that I can kinda see where some people may like it, but I am not one of those people
Rich F
At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it, mainly because I wasn’t sure I was “getting” it. I thought the artwork was phenomenal and thoughtful from the beginning and the story had emotional moments but I think I went in looking for deeper meanings and struggled up until the “Summary of Our Story Thus Far” where I could confirm I was following the plot and relaxed for the second half. I let the story flow over me and it made all the difference. Take off the English teacher glasses for a sitting and At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it, mainly because I wasn’t sure I was “getting” it. I thought the artwork was phenomenal and thoughtful from the beginning and the story had emotional moments but I think I went in looking for deeper meanings and struggled up until the “Summary of Our Story Thus Far” where I could confirm I was following the plot and relaxed for the second half. I let the story flow over me and it made all the difference. Take off the English teacher glasses for a sitting and just read, I need to remind myself every once in awhile when I come across a truly great story.

I’m also reading Vonnegut’s essays and speeches from Palm Sunday and one section mentions his made-up campaign phrase “Lonesome No More!” on the need for community and really that’s Jimmy Corrigan for me. His is a melancholy story of a boy, or really two boys: Jimmy and Jimmy’s grandfather as a child. Both are rejected by family, peers, and love interests and both never really get closure. The journey is solitary and sad and the story is wonderfully simple and yet emotionally complex. The dialogue is straightforward, yet powerful. The images are distinct and beautiful. This is one I plan on rereading to go on the journey again.

(This is not really related to the story, but Ware’s imagining of the White City would be wonderful prints even on their own.)
Laura
I'm not sure I've read a comic that I equally understand the one star reviews and the five star reviews and respect them both. The best way to describe this story might be "impenetrable". If you are looking at this as purely a story, I think that the early format of the book suffers from its original format of being split into strips. Its a bit jumbled and confusing and he needs to sum it up in a page because otherwise some readers would have been immediately lost. It sorta settles into a rhythm I'm not sure I've read a comic that I equally understand the one star reviews and the five star reviews and respect them both. The best way to describe this story might be "impenetrable". If you are looking at this as purely a story, I think that the early format of the book suffers from its original format of being split into strips. Its a bit jumbled and confusing and he needs to sum it up in a page because otherwise some readers would have been immediately lost. It sorta settles into a rhythm.

Personally, story wise, I was not looking to be sympathetic about the characters. I looked at the little glimmers of light that tried to penetrate this dull, sort of horrendous existence and enjoyed the contrast.

I think Ware's comics really encourage you to look at the media as both an art piece and a story, in ways some other comics dont. It is both an object and a book, a story and a collection of graphic design, and as an art collector I can appreciate it for both.

I think Building Stories (in its original, boardgame box form) will always be the best presentation of Wares insane story telling. The crazy formats, and stories broken up to be read in part, out of order, and admired as objects sort of teaches you where the authors head is at. I'm glad I read it first.
Yofish
I didn’t get it at all. The art wasn’t all that interesting. It was in tiny print so that I had to use a magnifying glass. (Granted, that might just be the particular version I had.)

It was about... well, that’s hard to say. The main story was about a guy who’s a bit of a wimp, and a mama’s boy. He’s never met his father, but he gets a card out of the blue asking him to come visit Dad. Which he does. And not much happens. Well, they go around a bit, eat. Jimmy gets his foot run over by a truck.

Th I didn’t get it at all. The art wasn’t all that interesting. It was in tiny print so that I had to use a magnifying glass. (Granted, that might just be the particular version I had.)

It was about... well, that’s hard to say. The main story was about a guy who’s a bit of a wimp, and a mama’s boy. He’s never met his father, but he gets a card out of the blue asking him to come visit Dad. Which he does. And not much happens. Well, they go around a bit, eat. Jimmy gets his foot run over by a truck.

Then... well, then we go for about a third of the book on a completely different story. About a boy who lives with his father (but without his mother). The boy’s quiet, 9 years old, and a bit of a loser. His dad does some work building the Chicago World’s Fair. And, umm, his grandmother dies? He gets beat up by the kids at school?

(Spoiler alert???) We do eventually learn that the boy grows up to be Jimmy’s grandfather. Not sure that that explains anything about why anything is happening. And, yeah.

I just don’t really get it. There’s lots of daydreaming, so that sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s real and what’s in the head of the current protagonist. No explanation for the title either.
Panhodny
Jimmy Corrigan is one of the many comics I saw on various "top" lists that seem to be appreciated significantly more by people who DONT usually read comics (as is actually evidenced by many of the reviews here) than regular comic readers. Many reviewers likened Chris Ware to writers like Zadie Smith etc. - however, I much prefer my comic writers NOT to be directly comparable to "book" writers, which is probably why Jimmy Corrigan didnt click with me as much as it could have.

The fact that I think Jimmy Corrigan is one of the many comics I saw on various "top" lists that seem to be appreciated significantly more by people who DON´T usually read comics (as is actually evidenced by many of the reviews here) than regular comic readers. Many reviewers likened Chris Ware to writers like Zadie Smith etc. - however, I much prefer my comic writers NOT to be directly comparable to "book" writers, which is probably why Jimmy Corrigan didn´t click with me as much as it could have.

The fact that I think of Jimmy Corrigan as too "literary" is somewhat ironic, of course, because the way the story is told visually is only really possible in comics. However, I felt like beyond the spectacle of the form, there wasn´t that much substance (reminding me of One Soul or even the House of Leaves). I have immense respect for the experimentation with the medium, but it seems all the more painful then that the writer doesn´t (in my eyes) necessarily have something equally interesting to say.

The book is undoubtedly still worth your attention, nevertheless, in my eyes it´s more extraordinary for short excursions into the world of graphic novels than for those claiming permanent residence :)
Nick Rudzicz
1) "With some difficulty, however, he is able to navigate the obstacle course laid by her handwriting. Seeing an opportunity not only to relieve this nurse of her duties, but also of her financial drain upon certain dwindling assets, Mr. Corrigan decided 2 weeks ago to take up the task of watching his mother die himself."

2) "Another night's length of the boy's beside light is snipped, and it drifts lifelessly out the window, leaving him alone to long for the evening's facsimile of familial affec 1) "With some difficulty, however, he is able to navigate the obstacle course laid by her handwriting. Seeing an opportunity not only to relieve this nurse of her duties, but also of her financial drain upon certain dwindling assets, Mr. Corrigan decided 2 weeks ago to take up the task of watching his mother die himself."

2) "Another night's length of the boy's beside light is snipped, and it drifts lifelessly out the window, leaving him alone to long for the evening's facsimile of familial affection to last for the rest of his life, or at least for as long as he can cling to it before he falls asleep."

3) "Fortunately, for these children, a recent planting of trees, telephone poles, & houses on their bleak neighborhood landscape helps to make this game much more exciting. After all, who'd want to play hide & go seek in a swamp? A half century earlier, the only place to secret yourself around here might've been in a depression in the ground, or behind an indian on horseback. But, with the inevitable forward march of progress come new ways of hiding things, and new things to hide."

4) "Ha ha."
Tiffany
I read about a third of this in one day, and just didn't feel like I needed to continue. The friend who recommended it to me said something like this is as deep as any novel, and I guess I see that. Jimmy Corrigan is a middle-aged guy living what looks like a pretty pathetic life. Nagging mother, can't get up the nerve to really talk to the woman he likes, absent father who suddenly reappears, and the old body is breaking down. He also has a pretty active imagination -- envisioning conversations I read about a third of this in one day, and just didn't feel like I needed to continue. The friend who recommended it to me said something like this is as deep as any novel, and I guess I see that. Jimmy Corrigan is a middle-aged guy living what looks like a pretty pathetic life. Nagging mother, can't get up the nerve to really talk to the woman he likes, absent father who suddenly reappears, and the old body is breaking down. He also has a pretty active imagination -- envisioning conversations with the woman he likes; his father as a crazy murderer; himself as a robot ... I think. And yes, the story does get pretty deep sometimes, like someone committing suicide, Jimmy's unhappiness with his life, and the patheticness of his life. But still, I just didn't feel like continuing for another however long was left of the book.

The two pluses it did have were its surprising depth about the tragicness of life, and Ware's illustrations, which reminded me of the animations he's done for various This American Life projects.
Przemek Skoczyński
Uwielbiam styl, w jakim stworzony jest "Jimmy". Minimalizm, przywodzący na myśl instrukcję obsługi dla pasażerów samolotu. Zupełnie niecodzienny jest sposób przedstawienia wydarzeń, liczy się każdy szczegół, chrząknięcie, spojrzenie na biust siostry, drobny ruch przerywający krępującą ciszę. Do tego bardzo oryginalne kadrowanie, często odwołujące właśnie do instrukcji, schematów czy diagramów. Ware jest mistrzem komiksowego designu, całość jest kapitalnie zaprojektowana. Wreszcie sama historia, Uwielbiam styl, w jakim stworzony jest "Jimmy". Minimalizm, przywodzący na myśl instrukcję obsługi dla pasażerów samolotu. Zupełnie niecodzienny jest sposób przedstawienia wydarzeń, liczy się każdy szczegół, chrząknięcie, spojrzenie na biust siostry, drobny ruch przerywający krępującą ciszę. Do tego bardzo oryginalne kadrowanie, często odwołujące właśnie do instrukcji, schematów czy diagramów. Ware jest mistrzem komiksowego designu, całość jest kapitalnie zaprojektowana. Wreszcie sama historia, a właściwie dwie historie, które się w jakiś sposób splatają. Poruszanie się na granicy rzeczywistości i wyobrażeń powstałych w głowie bohatera stwarza autorowi spore pole do popisu. Rzecz dołująca, depresjogenna, więc teoretycznie powinna mnie na tych kilkuset stronach wymęczyć nieziemsko, a jednak za każdym podejściem fascynuje. Zgłębiałem to ponad dwa miesiące, świadomie dawkowałem i uprzedzam, że nie jest to lektura łatwa, ale czytanie go szybko byłoby zbrodnią, podobnie jak zbrodnią byłoby nie wracanie do niego.
Jason McKinney
Some have said this is impossible to read and just throw in the towel right away, so I guess you could call it the "Infinite Jest," of graphic novels. Chris Ware is definitely an acquired taste and it probably helps to have some experience with him before tackling this one. I read "Building Stories" years ago and it has the most profound statements you'll ever find in a graphic novel, but it's not as cohesive and doesn't flow as well as Jimmy Corrigan does.

Unfortunately, I feel that Corrigan fo Some have said this is impossible to read and just throw in the towel right away, so I guess you could call it the "Infinite Jest," of graphic novels. Chris Ware is definitely an acquired taste and it probably helps to have some experience with him before tackling this one. I read "Building Stories" years ago and it has the most profound statements you'll ever find in a graphic novel, but it's not as cohesive and doesn't flow as well as Jimmy Corrigan does.

Unfortunately, I feel that Corrigan focused on the wrong Corrigan. The book soars when we are privy to the events of the 19th century and what happened as a boy to the grandfather of the protagonist. We see a good portion of his life but the main focus is still on JC III and he's what my grandma would call "milquetoast." And that actually makes him sound pretty lively. Either way, Chris Ware never disappoints...he's like the visual version of Dickens.
Susan Haines
I almost gave up on this book early on because I went into it knowing nothing and got too confused about the relationship between the past and present characters as well as the difference between what was real and imagined or dreamed.
Once I made it past the hurdle (with a quick Google search that explained the grandfather/grandson bit) I sank in to the author's style and was able to appreciate the poignant, dark storyline. The illustrations are not to be rushed through; there is so much to absor I almost gave up on this book early on because I went into it knowing nothing and got too confused about the relationship between the past and present characters as well as the difference between what was real and imagined or dreamed.
Once I made it past the hurdle (with a quick Google search that explained the grandfather/grandson bit) I sank in to the author's style and was able to appreciate the poignant, dark storyline. The illustrations are not to be rushed through; there is so much to absorb on every page. I ended up really liking the book and the message about the difficulty of father/son relationships, especially when the father is absent or abusive.
For anyone willing to put in a little effort, you will be rewarded.
(Only negative of the whole book: the font is the smallest I've ever seen. It did take away from the read to have to try so hard to read some of it.)
Blaine McGaffigan
Cartoonist Chris Ware crafts the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and depressing piece of fiction about fathers.

The illustrations are expertly done with emphasis on tiny moments and grandiose architecture. The panel layouts are unique to this landscape format and Ware really packs in panels to each page. The flat colors and graphic design elements truly make this a unique work of art.

I found the story of Jimmy’s grandfather as a young boy during the World’s Fair to be endlessly fascinating. He w Cartoonist Chris Ware crafts the most heartbreaking, beautiful, and depressing piece of fiction about fathers.

The illustrations are expertly done with emphasis on tiny moments and grandiose architecture. The panel layouts are unique to this landscape format and Ware really packs in panels to each page. The flat colors and graphic design elements truly make this a unique work of art.

I found the story of Jimmy’s grandfather as a young boy during the World’s Fair to be endlessly fascinating. He was a weird yet relatable kid with a horrible dad. Jimmy Corrigan on the other hand is almost too strange to be relatable. You feel so bad for him that you can’t see yourself in him. His loneliness and lack of connection to others is incredibly sad.

Amazing story, but again incredibly depressing.
Dario Andrade
Uma HQ até meio difícil de classificar. Uma graphic novel sobre a vida de um sujeito já perto dos seus 40, solitário, sem muito traquejo social, que tem um emprego meio besta, que de repente recebe a notícia que o pai – que o abandonara na infância – quer vê-lo. A partir disso, uma série de reflexões sobre a relação pai-filho, mãe-filho, bem como a dureza da vida em uma sociedade individualista, em que a solidão é uma presença constante.
Não é uma leitura fácil. Não é para qualquer um. Exige m Uma HQ até meio difícil de classificar. Uma graphic novel sobre a vida de um sujeito já perto dos seus 40, solitário, sem muito traquejo social, que tem um emprego meio besta, que de repente recebe a notícia que o pai – que o abandonara na infância – quer vê-lo. A partir disso, uma série de reflexões sobre a relação pai-filho, mãe-filho, bem como a dureza da vida em uma sociedade individualista, em que a solidão é uma presença constante.
Não é uma leitura fácil. Não é para qualquer um. Exige muito do leitor em termos de atenção para não se perder em meio a muita abstração, metáforas e simbolismo.
Nota final: gostei muito do traço do autor. É bem legal.
Christy Chabassol-Moynham
Finally finished Jimmy Corrigan. Took forever to grab my interest. If I hadn’t needed to read it for class, I likely would not have finished it. Although, I have to admit, that I am glad it grabbed my interest in the end. Things finally made some sense in the end, and I enjoyed reading the last section of it. However, it only gets 4 stars because the first 3/4 of the graphic novel I found next to impossible to get through. Spoiler alert, if you can make it to the fair in May 1893, I found that w Finally finished Jimmy Corrigan. Took forever to grab my interest. If I hadn’t needed to read it for class, I likely would not have finished it. Although, I have to admit, that I am glad it grabbed my interest in the end. Things finally made some sense in the end, and I enjoyed reading the last section of it. However, it only gets 4 stars because the first 3/4 of the graphic novel I found next to impossible to get through. Spoiler alert, if you can make it to the fair in May 1893, I found that was when things started to grab my interest.
Rebecca Seaberry
The graphics are amazing and really show Jimmy's emotions throughout the story. I would definitely recommend looking up the characters before reading, because it does get a bit confusing when it switches back in time. Just so you know, when it switches to the little boy, it's Jimmy's grandfather as a kid, not our main character. I also thought the story was extremely sad and the reader can't help but feel a lot of empathy for Jimmy and his inability to have strong emotional relationships.
Andrea
A graphic novel that depicts generations of misery caused mostly by bad parenting. Each male Corrigan manages either to perpetuate the hyper masculine aggressive and authoritative style or to abandon their kid (or a mix of both), creating traumatized children who become disfuncional adults. The novel unapologetically shows white males putting their mysoginistic and racist beliefs into the education of their kids.
Katelyn Marshall
Over all it was a great read. It was a book I had to purchase for a class, but I don't think it will be a book I will keep in my library. The main characters look always looks out of place in relation to the rest of the comics, and I constantly wanted to pin his hand down away from his face!

A great story about the everlasting effects of seemingly everyday life and how they impact our future and the future of our children.
Rob Marney
Chris Ware exhibits complete mastery of the graphic novel form. The panels are a delight to read, and work perfectly with the content. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend it, because it is so depressing, bleak and unrelenting that it actively made my life worse to read it. This is not your ordinary "sad ending diary with redeeming moments", this is a black hole of despair that could be actively harmful to a reader suffering from depression.
Osmosisch
Absolutely amazing. A totally piercing portrait of several men from the same family down the generations, told with clarity, humanity and some of the technically boldest comics work I've ever seen. My only regret is not getting a bigger edition, I want to see this art blown up.

I started reading right from the front again once it's finished because I wanted more. not many books can manage that.
Trevor Durham
This was the first book I added on Goodreads so many years ago, when an image board user told me it was one of the most haunting and depressing works he had ever written. The actual product did not fail to deliver. I had to sit and ponder for a half hour after completing it- especially when the gruesome realization that this abysmal reality was an autobiographical work.
Tanvir Muntasim
It's one of those seminal graphic novels that defines the genre/medium through its original art style, but the story is unrelentingly depressing and one has to plod on resolutely to complete it, a task which is made difficult by the minuscule cursive font used in the flashback scenes ( a pain to read). A book that is easy to admire for its immaculate craft, but hard to love.
Helen Yu
If a book is meant to capture your attention, then this has done it. Everything. moves. so. slowly. And yet, every three pages, I look back like "What just happened? This feels related -- but how? Did I miss something?"

Ware does a great job demonstrating how generations of abuse and trauma all contribute to a story that feels too mundane to be fiction, but also too absurd to be reality.
Felipe Assis
Essa GN é foda por varios motivos,mas destaco o uso da intertextualidade: o campo dos silêncios e momentos vagos que o autor nos expõe a fim de que sejam cheios pelas nossas interpretações, isso faz com que fiquemos angustiados com a indefiição do que foi interpretado,pois quem os garante que isso que autor quer passar? enfim livro foda!
amanda
I had to read this for my graphic fiction class, and while it's something that I would never pick up on my own, I actually really enjoyed it. The storyline was really, really sad. The illustrations were amazing, and I while some parts confused me with what direction I should be reading it in, I thought that the part with Amy's timeline was done in an interesting and cool way.
Christina
It was a profoundly miserable read and I guess my favorite phrase we used to describe it in class is "metaphorical constipation." For those who've read this book, you'll know what that's in relation to.
Rocío Mantis
Me demoré 3 días en leerlo con calma. Es angustioso, algunos momentos son difíciles, pero vale la pena completamente. Dibujos perfectos, confusiones y matices. Querer dejar de leerlo porque no crees que algo bueno vaya a pasar, pero aún así, seguir masoquistamente leyendo.
Nick
Went into this book not knowing anything about it other than that Chris Ware was very innovative and that this was one of his best works. His drawing style was very clean and geometric. The book is very intricate in its storytelling and design.
Leave Feeback for The Smartest Kid on Earth, Jimmy Corrigan
Useful Links