The End of The F***ing World by Charles Forsman

teotfwPublication: August 3rd 2013
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Pages:  136 pages
Source: Gift (Thanks Andrea!)
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Dark Comedy, Mystery, Crime, Comics
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.5/5

“Sometimes I get this feeling of nothingness. It’s not a bad feeling. It’s a calm feeling. When everything is quiet. No expectations. It doesn’t happen very often” (Forsman, pages not numbered).

I was interested in reading The End of the F***ing World after binge-watching the Netflix show of the same name based on the graphic novel. The show, like the book, is a dark comedy focusing on seventeen-year-old James and sixteen-year-old Alyssa. James believes he’s a psychopath, and after disfiguring his hand and killing multiple animals, he decides he wants to know what it’s like to kill a person and chooses his classmate Alyssa to be his first victim. Alyssa is looking for escape from her uncaring mom and perverted stepfather, she finds this escape in James whom she falls for hard and fast, and will go to the ends of the earth for him.

I really enjoyed the show, so I was really looking forward to the graphic novel. And while I did enjoy it, it did lack in some areas.

For one thing, I never realized just how short the graphic novel was. A lot of the story is just told through pictures with the bare minimum of words, and like the show the story takes place very quickly. According to an author’s note at the end of the book, The End of the F***ing World was originally published in a more zine style as “8-page comics published between Sept.,2011 and Feb.,2013 by Oily Comics” (Forsman, Author’s Note.).As a serialized comic/zine, I can understand the lack of words, making the story much vaguer and up to the reader to put together certain pieces. While I appreciate the style, I do enjoy that the tv show isn’t as vague, but I do acknowledge that watching the show before reading the book does change my opinion.

The story is still very dark, if not darker than the show. It really is hard to find the humour in the book, but that isn’t bad either. The book is described by many reviewers as showing the darkness, confusion, vulnerability, and frustration that comes with being a teenager and I think the story does that perfectly.

I also loved the art style! It’s very similar to a Peanut’s cartoon which makes the darkness of the story even more jarring. You keep expecting a kind of Charlie Brown ending but one doesn’t come.

There are quite a few things different from book to tv, which I won’t go into huge detail with in case you decide to watch/read it for yourself. One thing is the vagueness/lack of vagueness in the show, the story line with the police officer(s) is completely different and unexpected in the book versus the show, and there’s an epilogue of sorts at the end of the book which just leads to further questions (especially if Netflix will make a second season or not).

Overall, The End of the F***ing world is an excellent graphic novel that accurately portrays the feeling of hopelessness and heartache and stress that so many teenagers feel, if not in a very dramatic way. If you enjoyed the book, you will definitely enjoy the show for all it adds to the story, and makes you appreciate it even more.

 

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