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Jeffrey Brown – Undeleted Scenes

May 11, 2017

37. Undeleted Scenes by Jeffrey Brown (2010)

Length: 350 pages
Genre: Non-fiction; Memoir; Graphic Novel

Started/Finished: 17 July 2016

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Random browsing.

Summary: A collection of short stories / vignettes and a few one-offs, some of which are collected from Brown’s other works, and some of which have never before been published. There are some pieces from childhood, but most of the pieces seem to take place in the early-to-mid 2000s, and largely involve his relationships (and lack thereof.)

Review: I guess I should have expected this from the title, but I found the vignette nature of this collection to be really disjointed, which is the best word I have for the entire collection. Just from a layout point of view, there aren’t always good titles or breaks to be able to tell when we’re switching from one story to another. The tone of the book is similarly disjointed, flipping from funny (I guess? Sort of a bleak chuckle funny, rather than a laugh out loud funny.) to pathos and back again. Some pieces were good (I thought the one about 9/11 and the war in Iraq being like reality shows was particularly nicely observed) but a lot of the ones about his relationships just didn’t connect, probably because they’re really hard to follow. I also don’t really care for the drawings – I found most of the non-him people hard to tell apart, even when he included a dramatis personae, and this wasn’t helped by the lack of clear delineation between the stories, as mentioned above. I also found his lettering really hard to read in places, which made it even harder to follow. And on this subject, I feel like the comic about him responding to critics that don’t care for the art style or the lettering (or the self-pitying tone of some of the works) is kind of manipulative – like, if he points it out first then we can’t criticize it without seeming petty or mean?

I liked his later book A Matter of Life well enough, although I had some similar issues with the vignette format. But I think his work is maturing with him – his art style definitely does – so this collection doesn’t make me particularly interested in seeking out more of his early work. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If autobiographical / indie comics are your thing, then you might find more here to relate to than I did. But I think there are other books out there that do something similar to what this book is trying to accomplish, but they do it better.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Couldn’t find any. Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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