Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book Review: Unlovable by Esther Pearl Watson

Rating: 4.5 stars

Unlovable is loosely based on a teenager's diary from the 1980s that was found in a gas station bathroom. It follows the (pathetic yet hilarious) life of Tammy Pierce, a sophomore in 1985. It was first serialized in Bust magazine and this book features the collection with additional material. Readers get an inside glimpse into Tammy's school life, social life and Tammy's thoughts on the people in her life. There are also Tammy's "own" drawings and doodling throughout the book's pages. The fashion and style is typical eighties with overly done make-up, leg warmers, shoulder pads and outrageous patterns. The hot pink cover with sparkly blue glitter (even on Tammy's eyeshadow) adds a nice touch to the 80s theme.

I first heard about Unlovable from Alea (Pop Culture Junkie) who raved about it and was anxiously anticipating its arrival. After reading the book I can now see why! Tammy is your typical teen, give or take some delusional behavior and occasional bouts of hysteria. She spends a lot of her time with deliquents and then wonders why she gets into such crazy situations. Even though I cringed at times because of how utterly clueless Tammy is, I couldn't help but laugh. Her desperate need to fit in, her obsession with the opposite sex and her stalker-like tendencies all make her a lovable character, but mostly one you love to laugh at. Though some of the drawings are a little repulsive (think dandruff, acne, Tammy's facial hair...etc.). they are all part of Tammy's charm (or lack thereof, seriously).

Even those born after the eighties (I was just a little toddler then) will appreciate its pop culture references and outrageous style. I especially loved the Teddy Ruxpin spoof since I remember playing with mine so clearly!

This book is so much fun - it kept me laughing for hours. Not only is the dialogue hilarious but the drawings themselves are really hysterical.

Here is a preview from Publishers Weekly "Panelmania":

Click here to see more of the book's fabulous artwork and hilarious moments in Tammy's life!

BIG THANKS to Esther, Eric and Fantagraphics Books for helping me get a review copy.


Alea said...

LOL! I finally recently got my copy, darn Amazon! Still need to read it, glad you liked it though! It cracks me up!

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh - that looks great!

Luanne said...

Sounds like a fun read.

Anonymous said...

okay, i'm putting everything aside and reading this as soon as i get a copy in my hot little hands. the pictures and writing are hysterical! i grew up in the 80s and can absolutely appreciate this! thanks.