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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    style and substance

    Bold and brutally honest, Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings truly sets itself apart as an Asian American novel. The author's artwork is undeniably eye-catching; I was immediately struck by the simple sophistication of the cover art and was highly impressed by the liveliness and animation of each panel. Tomine's illustrations fully capture his characters' mental and emotional processes, making them more realistic and relatable to the reader. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how powerfully Shortcomings confronts the racial and cultural identity issues plaguing Asian American youth. The novel chronicles the many failed relationships of Ben Tanaka, a young Japanese-American whose cynical nature and struggles with internalized racism eventually alienate him from the people he cares about the most. Tomine's cutting dialogue and expressive illustrations work together to breathe life into each of the characters and unleash the conflicted Ben's inner turmoil. Shortcomings presents the issues of racism, self-hatred, and interracial romance in such a direct and honest manner that readers are forced to examine their own beliefs, values, and prejudices. Being able to somewhat relate to Ben and having struggled with similar cultural identity issues in the past, the novel allowed me to reflect upon my own experiences and how my attitudes towards my ethnic heritage have changed over time. The book brings to awareness the sensitive subjects of cultural assimilation and the Asian-Caucasian interracial dating disparity, catering to a young Asian American audience who will be able to understand and relate to these issues. Overall, however, Shortcomings is highly recommended to people of all different backgrounds as it will provoke insightful thought and dialogue regarding prevailing racial attitudes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2008

    A reviewer

    I read this book today and I couldn't put it down. I liked how he created his language. It made sense. The way he told a story without words, for a couple of panels, I felt the argument that was happening. It was a great book to see how someone of color, or a minority, would feel towards the majority race. Or rather the race that seems to permeate our nations magazines and television shows. I have felt like Ben somedays, looking at pale skin and loving it. The way he tells the story, and his girlfriend doing the same thing as him and he not liking it. Yeah i've done the same thing myself. Damn this american culture which doesn't show us that there is beautiful things wherever we go, so maybe now I sound like Ben more, but I really loved this comic book. It brought out emotions in me, a funny book bringing out emotions, what? But Tomine is a great comic book writer. I read another of his books a couple of years ago and gave it to this white girl I had a crush on. I doubt she ever read it, but I passed it along, hoping someone else in this world could get something out of it like I did. But I did enjoy this. Buy it and read it on a lazy afternoon, its better than going to the movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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