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Unloveable

by Esther Pearl Watson

Publisher: Fantagraphics

Format: Hardcover, 6x6, partial color, $22.99

ISBN: 978-1-56097-955-5

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

Based on a real diary that the author found in a Vegas bathroom in 1995, this episodic collection is an alternately hilarious and exhausting trip through the inner monologue and outer turmoil of overweight high school sophomore Tammy Pierce. Tammy struggles with body image (and body odor), pines for the cute boys who torment her, steals money from her mother's purse and spends way too much time chasing her next fix of French fries from Sonic. Given the source material, it's not surprising that much of the book is self-absorbed, repetitive and insufferable; it is also genuinely poignant. The highlights of the collection are the stretches where Tammy's situation is too excruciatingly painful not to be funny: practicing kissing with her pillow, not shaving her legs sufficiently for prom, dealing with a surprise hair on her chin at school. The art style is jagged in the extreme—sometimes it doesn't look like ink was placed on the page so much as thrown—but it's a perfect fit for conveying the chaos Tammy is so desperately trying to put down in words.