A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

The Man in the Ceiling (A review)

Jules Feiffer began writing children’s books in the early ’90s; his first children’s book, apparently somewhat autobiographical, was The Man in the Ceiling. Lovely wife got it out of the library, and I’ve read it this evening.

The story centers around Jimmy, a boy who isn’t much good in at sports (as a real boy should be), but who can draw cartoons very very well. He’s got a driven father, a forgetful mother who is a fashion designer; an older sister prone to tantrums, and a little overlooked sister prone to being a bit of a pest. And there’s an uncle who writes plays that consistently flop. This is a vivid exploration of the talents and troubles of a family, how people change, and how people face failure. The story’s denouement left me a bit breathless.

And of course, there’s Feifer’s wonderful cartoons, both drawn from his adult perspective, and Jimmy’s cartoons, which are exactly what you’d expect from a precocious talent.

I guess I’m gushing, but it’s well worth a read.


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