I basically had a mental allergic reaction to this graphic novel. Having said that, I don’t necessarily want to scare people off from it because I can see why other people might like it, even though I had such a negative reaction to it. I really wanted to love Ghost World. There aren’t many books, let alone graphic novels, centering on the close friendship between two complex female characters. I just couldn’t escape the awful feeling that would close in around me every time I picked this book up. It literally took me more than two weeks to read an 80 page book.
Ghost World is about Enid & Rebecca who are teenagers on the cusp of adulthood in the mid-1990s. They’re incredibly close, almost to the point of excluding real relationships with anyone else. I will say that Clowes made these girls seem very realistic. The way they speak to each other in an intimate shorthand throws the reader for a loop at first, but makes you feel like you’re part of their group after you get the hang of them. They’re not very nice people, which would be fine (I love stories about unlikeable women), but they’re also not very interesting or relatable. My experience growing up in the mid-90s was pretty different from these girls. I am slightly younger than them, so maybe that accounts for some of it?
My favorite thing about Ghost World was the artwork. I loved Clowes’ style of simple black and white line drawings given depth by a mint green shading. It’s unique and memorable. Still, the artwork isn’t enough to bump this up to a 3 star read because the teenage characters occasionally looked middle-aged and the transitions from one scene to the next were really abrupt and confusing.