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The quitter
Harvey Pekar
Adult Fiction PEKAR

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Pekar's work, memorialized in the movie American Splendor, is an ongoing chronicle of his life in all its quotidian glory. Until now, he's only written nonfiction vignettes of his life as a jazz-loving slacker. The strength of Pekar's work is in his depiction of moments, but you have to read a great deal of it to understand the overall arc. This autobiographical full-length comic amends that problem, providing the missing overview: a searingly honest memoir of a smart but troubled boy who depends on quitting any time he might fail-a strategy that eventually leads to a near-nervous breakdown after he joins the navy. But Pekar doesn't dwell on his anxiety with the look-at-me tantrums of Philip Roth or Woody Allen-he's not that indulgent. Pekar's frequent artistic collaborator Haspiel provides the square-jawed, nebbishy characters, drawn with a fat, '60s line, giving a sharp-edged sense of the frustration and tension of an immigrant midcentury boyhood. This book is full of the deeply flawed but sympathetic characters that populate Pekar's work: his hard-working but oblivious parents, an overrated tough guy Pekar beats up, the jazz writer who gives him an outlet away from being a street tough. Pekar's work dignifies the struggle of the average man, and this book shows how that dignity is earned. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Since 1976, Pekar has shared his life with readers in the pages of American Splendor, a series that inspired the eponymous critically acclaimed 2003 movie. But this is the first time he has told the story of his younger days. Born in 1939, he was the son of Jewish immigrant grocers who, he feels, couldn't understand his own life as an American. As a boy he was always beat up by the local black kids, which proved to be excellent training for his teenage role as a street brawler. But despite his tough-guy reputation, Pekar is plagued by insecurity from the beginning, and when he can't excel in something, he quits. So he drops a series of pursuits, academic and otherwise, and a predilection for fooling around loses him several jobs, leaving him at loose ends until his outlook matures. His love of jazz and his meeting with cartoonist Robert Crumb help him find his way, but the insecurity never disappears. Pekar's tone, as always, is straightforward, unadorned, and real, and Haspiel's artwork, with its combination of realism and simplicity, fits the text very well. This moving memoir will probably be of most interest to adults and is recommended for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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main characters Harvey Pekar
Male
Age: Teenager
Immigrant
Quits every time he thinks he is failing at something; beat up kids just to win the praise of his peers.
Student



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