Monday Night Book Club: Ghost World

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by Abigail Fisher

If you’re feeling particularly angst ridden this week or if you enjoy the occasional graphic novel, pick up a copy of Ghost World by Daniel Clowes stat! The cover art in itself should be enough to intrigue a stylish MODA reader. The main character Enid’s recognizable jet black bob and Elvis Costello glasses are sure to inspire some Halloween costumes (ok maybe just mine). Beyond the cover, Ghost World is a cult classic, imperative to anyone’s “inde” library. Not to mention it’s relatively short!  Graphic novels are great in that respect. They have intriguing stories with amazing art, and you can finish them in under a day.

Enid Coleslaw is, in a word, extreme. She balks against everything and everyone around her, even those who try to love her. Her city is growing increasingly boring after high school graduation, even with her best friend Becky Doppelmeyer to indulge her quirks. She spends her time mocking or following those who interest her. Every aspect of pop culture or mainstream media is offensive to Enid. In striving to be different, Enid finds nothing but pessimism. When Enid begins to consider applying to college, her and Becky’s relationship becomes strained to the point of breaking. A concurrent amorous competition over Josh, a boy they tease mercilessly but both secretly like, is enough to push their friendship over the edge.

Ghost World is about losing yourself in the mundane and realizing that normal might not be so bad. What I took most from Ghost World is that intelligence brings a certain amount of cynicism that you can never get rid of. Writer and illustrator Daniel Clowes put a great deal of himself in this graphic novel. Not only does he draw himself a cameo as a cartoonist who Enid is obsessed with (until she sees him in person), Enid Coleslaw is also an anagram for David Clowes.

If you enjoy Ghost World the graphic novel, I would also suggest the movie spinoff. Directed by Terry Zwigoff, the movie Ghost World maintains the atmosphere of the graphic novel, while taking some liberties with various plot structures. Starring Thora Birch as Enid and Scarlett Johansson as Becky, I would highly recommend the movie. Make it a Ghost World weekend!  Read the graphic novel, rent the movie, and get obsessed with all things Enid Coleslaw just like I am.

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