Shortcomings

Shortcomings

Book - 2007
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FROM THE PREEMINENT CARTOONIST OF HIS GENERATION, THE MOST ANTICIPATED GRAPHIC NOVEL OF 2007

Shortcomings , Adrian Tomine's first long-form graphic novel, is the story of Ben Tanaka, a confused, obsessive Japanese American male in his late twenties, and his cross-country search for contentment (or at least the perfect girl). Along the way, Tomine tackles modern culture, sexual mores, and racial politics with brutal honesty and lacerating, irreverent humor, while deftly bringing to life a cast of painfully real antihero characters. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker , Tomine has acquired a cultlike fan following and has earned status as one of the most widely acclaimed cartoonists of our time.

Shortcomings was serialized in Tomine's iconic comic book series Optic Nerve and was excerpted in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 .

Publisher: Montréal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2007.
ISBN: 9781897299166
1897299168
Characteristics: 108 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.

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StephanieOne Jan 02, 2019

The story-lines and relationships seemed so true to life. And the artwork was beautiful. I just have never hated a protagonist before in the same way I hated Ben. About 1/4 of the way through, I just wanted to reach through the pages and slap him. Everyone else around him is able to grow and find ways to be true to themselves, even if they're not in the most honest ways. And the whole time I felt like Ben was just sitting there saying "but what about ME! Why isn't this all centered on ME! You should be basing all of your life choices around ME!" Every time he seemed to make a tiny baby-step forward in his development, he would take 37 giant steps back.
That being said, I absolutely loved Alice. I would read a hundred volume series about Alice. She stole every scene she was in, and seemed to be the one character whose development you got to actually watch. Everyone else was more come-and-go.

NorthPlains_BriannaS Oct 25, 2018

This one is a bit uncomfortable to read as the characters' relationship slowly falls apart, with their mid-20s selfishness and ugliness front and center. Do you have to find the characters likable to enjoy a book? If so, this one may not be for you. I prefer Tomine's other works but the full length story was a fun contrast to his shorts.

r
romatomatoes
Aug 23, 2018

I totally dated this guy! Mr. Negativity!!! Mr. Double-Standard "I can date other people but you can't"! Thank Goodness she leaves him. Loved the characters. Wish there were translations for the Korean and Japanese.

c
Cobin
Mar 04, 2018

It was so good, I couldn't put it down! A quick read! It's very relatable for adults; talks about life and all kinds of relationships (casual, same-sex, long-term, friendships), East vs West coast, race... I wish there was a follow-up book :)

l
lukasevansherman
Dec 11, 2015

The latest from Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve, Summer Blonde), one of the most gifted artists/writers working, is a bittersweet (well, mostly bitter), short illustrated novel about relationships. With his usual acute sense of character, Tomine gives us a protagonist who is self-absorbed & cynical, yet still sympathetic. He breaks up with his Japanese girlfriend, pursues other women (who are white), and flies across the country to spy on his ex-girlfriend. Tomine's drawings are subtle and incisive, his dialogue well-observed (think an indie film that doesn't suck), and he tackles thorny issues like race, sex, gender, sexuality, jealousy, and, um, penis size. The hardcover edition features a handy ruler on the cover.

m
mclarjh
Aug 26, 2015

A very unlikeable protagonist (presumably modelled after the author), and an immature love story. For young adults.

t
tegan
Nov 27, 2013

A dissolving relationship and an unresolved ending made this book a bit on the depressing side. If it weren't for Alice, the main character's best friend, I probably wouldn't have bothered finishing this book.

a
azbier
Jun 29, 2012

I really feel that it is disrespectful of the Windsor Public Library (central) to place works like this in the Young Adult section of the library. It should be shelved in the Fiction section. Just because something looks like a "Comic" should not devalue its artistic and literary value. Any counter arguments to this could be used to argue that all of the items in the regular fiction section should also be classified as "Young Adult". I can only conclude that this and many other "Graphic Novels" or "Sequential Art" are classified based on limited information and bias.

j
JustinRay
Jun 30, 2011

As realistic as any prose fiction. A sad story that raises more questions than it answers and requires reflection to appreciate.

i
itstartswithano
Jan 24, 2011

LOVED this! Clever observation of modern life and relationships. I only wish the story kept going...

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Quotes

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j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 25, 2010

"You know, there's still a part of me that thinks when I land in Oakland, everything will just be...back to normal." -Ben to Alice

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 25, 2010

"I love this place. I don't think ther's a healthy item on the menu." -Sasha to Ben

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 25, 2010

"Oh, that's one of my works-in-progress. I wake up every morning, go pee, and then take a picture. I've been doing it since January." -Autumn to Ben

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 25, 2010

"Still, I'm sure my family would rather see me with a Japanese boy than a Korean girl." -Alice to Ben

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 25, 2010

“God, you drive me crazy sometimes. It's almost like you're ashamed to be Asian." -Miko to Ben”

Age Suitability

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c
Cobin
Mar 04, 2018

Cobin thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 24, 2010

J_Duncan_Cook thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Notices

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j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 24, 2010

Sexual Content: References to and a couple of sexual acts.

j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 24, 2010

Coarse Language: There are some aggressive racial and sexual discussions.

Summary

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j
J_Duncan_Cook
Apr 24, 2010

Jaded tri-genarian Ben Tanaka has a decent life but manages to find enough to complain about. Managing a local theater also seems to distance him from his girlfriend Miko's interest in independent film, looking down on her Asian Film Festival with enough self loathing for both of them. His friend Alice Kim is a womanizing woman and manages to aid him in some semblance of a social life.
Add to this one cross country internship for Miko, a new, cute flirty punker employee at the theater, and a waffling bisexual white girl making his acquaintance and Ben has his hands full. It seems Ben knows what he doesn't want, but does he really want what he thinks he does?

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