The Man in the Ceiling, by Jules Feiffer (1995) K

Date Read: 10.12.09
Book From: Personal Collection
Reviewer: Kakaner

Summary

Jimmy Jibbett is a boy who dreams of becoming a comic book artist and spends his days in the basement making his stories come to life on paper. His mother is also an artist, but his father is a humorless businessman and his two sisters are brats; overall, his family doesn’t really support his aspirations. But Jimmy finds hope through his friends, certain members of his family, and ultimately his imagination.

Review

This is a pretty charming little story, complete with full illustrations¬† drawn by the author in the style of a 10 year old. I was lured to buy this book when my friend pointed it out to me on a shelf and said something along the lines of, “Dude! That’s one of my favorite children’s books! It’s about this kid that draws comics!”. I mean, who doesn’t love a kid who loves and draws comics? Case and point.

I had no trouble envisioning Jimmy as this scrawny kid with a constantly runny nose who simultaneously entertained wild dreams of inventing the world’s favorite superhero and nurtured a secret desire for that superhero to come to life and be his best friend. Jimmy is pretty much the quintessential dorky pre-pubescent boy, and subsequently, loser so if you were one of those, read this book.

My one gripe is that it seemed like the entire story was covered by a slight sheen of awkwardness. Although the story is touching and relatable, the writing doesn’t achieve that level of lighthearted elegance usually found in Newbery winners and Jimmy as a character doesn’t really stay with you after you finish reading. The plot was a little bit too simple and straightforward, and the few plot devices seem like they were devised and then inserted into the story. However, I do have to say The Main in the Ceiling has one of the absolutely cutest endings ever.

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Jules Feiffer

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  1. Anda’s avatar

    Ack, this is another one of those books that I saw as a tween and never got around to picking it up- I’ve no idea why, considering being a comic book artist was one of the things I wanted to be at that age as well.

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  2. kakaner’s avatar

    Haha I totally know how you feel. It’s the reason why I have so much YA on my shelf and I’m making my way through some now. Gotta keep up! Although I feel like the quality of YA overall is declining into sickly teenage drama gossip.

    Anyway, honestly you’re not missing out on too much. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to read it or anything… yar.

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