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I Never Liked You [Paperback]

Chester Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2004
Chester Brown is commonly regarded as one of the leading figures of the alternative comics "renaissance" that began in the 1980's.As a cartoonist, he has produced three regular comic book series, Yummy Fur, Underwater, and Louis Riel, and his work has been collected in four books: Ed The Happy Clown, The Playboy, I Never Liked You, and The Little Man.Throughout his career, Brown's work has been known for its diverse and unpredictable nature. His stories have ranged from the absurd surrealism of Ed the Happy Clown, to the deeply personal, understated autobiographical accounts of his youth, to, more recently, the dada-esque, linguistically-challenged oddness of Underwater. Brown has won two Harvey Awards, for Best Cartoonist and Best Graphic Album.

"A minimalist, but haunting, memoir of the artist's troubled adolescence." -The New York Times Book Review

"An engrossing memoir by one of the most talented artists working in alternative comics today." -Publishers Weekly

Frequently Bought Together

I Never Liked You + My New York Diary + Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Scott Pilgrims Precious Little Life
Price For All Three: CDN$ 36.16

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Product Description

From Amazon

If you ever doubted that a comic book could wrench your heart, I urge you to read I Never Liked You. Chester Brown looks back on his adolescent attempts at relationships--with his friends, his mother, the girl who always loved him--with such maturity and understatement that the result is an unspoken testament to the reality of life. The feeling you're left with after reading this comic is due in part to the skilled, reserved hand of Brown the artist: his comics flow so smoothly through time that once begun, this book is almost impossible to put down. The panels--often a tiny single frame on a page of pure black--convey such a sense of loneliness that in any other medium this story wouldn't be half as good. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Brown's latest autobiographical work is a study in adolescent socialization and the peculiar combination of budding sexuality, self-obsessed dreaminess and downright mean-spiritedness that epitomize the teenage years. Like The Playboy, his previous book, I Never Liked You chronicles the Harvey Award-winner's suburban, Canadian childhood and his affectless relations with his family, the idiosyncrasies of his mother and his strained encounters with both admiring and hostile schoolmates. But unlike the previous book (which focused on his onanistic obsession with Playboy magazine), this one captures Brown's weirdly detached relations with almost everyone and his awkward, almost pathological passivity and inability to "fit in." But girls do like him, which can be both a dream come true and his worst nightmare. Chester isn't sure (actually hasn't got a clue) what to do after he tells a friend he loves her. Brown is a wan, but intensely focused, episodic storyteller who can transform the usual memories of teenage yearning into distinctive passages of muted comedy or adolescent emotional desperation. He scatters his panels asymetrically across black pages, isolating their beauty and carefully pacing the narrative forward. His drawing is exceptional both for its economy and for the attenuated sensuality of his lines and figures. A strange and engrossing teen memoir by one of the most talented artists working in alternative comics today.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By poi
Poignant, haunting, humorous.
This memoir captures the agony of youth with brilliance, restraint, and plaintiveness. So much is conveyed using so little ink. This is the memoir, the graphic story, Zen art at its finest. One of my favorite books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I liked you, sorta Nov. 25 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very fast read. The drawings are simple, subtle but engaging. The storyline was agonizingly adolescent - but that's the point, I guess. There were moments of pain, laughter and boredom. I think this is a good read when you've got an hour to kill waiting for a friend in the park.
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4.0 out of 5 stars But you will like the book July 25 2014
By Duke21
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chester's earlier work is very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very sparce but emotionally rich story of a young boy. Aug. 18 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover Comic
In this age of post-modern, ironic, dconstructionist storytelling, it's refreshing to see someone such as Canadian writer\artist Chester Brown honestly recount his early life. 'I Never Liked You', graphic novel, is an excellent and enticing introduction to both Brown and the comics medium. The story and art mesh together effortlesly and all the sentimental cliches are carefully avoided. It's a quick read, which may dissapoint you at first, but, as you find yourself needing to reread it, you'll realize that it's a virtue. 'I Never Liked You' is poetic- flowing and graceful, yet meaty enough for you to dissect any line or image and learn more about what has shaped Chester Brown to make him the great artist he is today. Highly Recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If a Zen poem could be a comic book, this would be it April 22 2000
By Jennifer - Published on Amazon.com
This is probably the best comic book I've ever read. In I Never Liked You, Chester Brown recounts his own adolescence. He doesn't rely on quirks, self-pity, overanalysis, or an edgy drawing style. His work is simple and understated, one incident flowing into another in an apparent anecdotal fashion which, by the end, reveals a large picture of Brown's seemingly hidden feelings. It is his relationship with his mentally unstable mother that fuels this book; Brown thoughtlessly antagonizes her (as teenagers do) and struggles with his inability to say "I love you"--at least to the right people at the right time. In his youth, Brown was best able to express himself through symbolic drawings which he infused with meanings he would later claim weren't there ("I never use symbolism.") This grown-up effort seems an extension of that, as a bittersweet memoir and perhaps explanation/closure for his emotional distance.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, Touching, Sad, Wonderful. July 17 1998
By Chiang Hai Tat - Published on Amazon.com
Chester Brown's seemingly simple graphic novel is actually a brilliantly written and drawn tale about adolesence that touches deep into your heart. Brown's ability to go deep into his past and dig up the things that haunt him most is simply incredible - it all seems so subtle, yet it's so personal and powerful. Like the recurring biscuit-eating scenes which might not mean anything but provoke so much feelings, of melancholy, loneliness, simple joy, etc.
Brown's art is as much a joy to look at as his writing. The freely (yet skillfully) drawn brush work, together with the loosely (yet cleverly) laid-out pages complement the story almost to perfection.
I have read and re-read the book a number of times on different occasions and personally I feel it's best when you read it in a quiet afternoon when you're all alone.
Together with 'It's A Good Life, If You Don't Weaken' by Seth, 'I Never Liked You' is one of those rare graphic novel that will let you feel as if you k! now the author personally after reading it.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more than i was expecting Feb. 24 2005
By C. Hopf - Published on Amazon.com
I love reading graphic novels, especially from the publishing company of I Never Liked You (Drawn & Quarterly). I've read maybe a dozen or so that they've put out. But for some reason, this one surprised me.

It might be because many of the things that occur in the story I can relate to, or they resemble what I was like in high school. Though, as most cartoonists are outcasts and that is often shown in their work, this doesn't make a graphic novel that special. Other aspects of the book...his mother, how he dealt with other people, etc....were what really struck me as sad. Yes I've read lots of sad stories in comics, but this one just seem to ring a little truer or deeper. It may be his minimalist approach; this lets you interpret many actions for yourself in that there is not often any definite reason or meaning behind the things that happen. Nor do you really know what's always going on in the speaker's head. These things, for me, made the book much more personal, because I was interpreting the events from my point of view, not necessarily seeing exactly how the speaker was interpreting them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a little too successful at its mission Nov. 16 2010
By Timothy W. Lieder - Published on Amazon.com
Chester Brown depicts his adolescent years with a distinct sadness and criticism. In many ways, this is a young adult's depiction of adolescence, not capturing adolescence so much as that point where you grow up enough to first realize that everyone you've ever blamed for your problems is mostly innocent and that you're the jerk. (granted some people never get to this state. THey are called sociopaths) Later on, you gain some more perspective and feel some affection for your younger nasty self. This is not that book. Chester Brown wrote this book in a state of hatred for his teenage self. You can see it in every drawing of himself as a sallow skinny jerk. You see it in his way of treating Carrie and Sky. Even the things that might be admirable like his refusal to swear are explained away.

THe Chester Brown of the book is caught between two female friends - Carrie and Sky - with Connie providing a conscience that isn't really adhered to. Carrie loves him and she's depicted as a beautiful romantic creature whose only fault is bad taste. Sky is the friend that he eats with and its obvious early on that his interest in her is her breasts. He says he loves her but it comes so fast that you know that he's simply abusing the word. As an undercurrent, his mother is slowly losing her mind and as she deteriorates, the narrative keeps her off camera as she becomes less prominent in Chester's life.

The fact of the matter is that this is a fine book about depicting a teenager who keeps his messed up emotions in check. However, it's not easy to stay so close to a repressed individual who doesn't allow himself to feel anything but the most superficial emotions.
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