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Success is 90% Spite - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published June 22nd 2020
A whimsical and entertaining book about growing up
Success is 90% Spite, Jane Zei
Jane Zei. Chronicle Books.


Success Is 90% Spite is a paperback collection on comics based on Jane Zei's popular webcomic series The Pigeon Gazette. It is 160 pages long and was published by Chronicle Books on 21 April 2020. The Pigeon Gazette is written and illustrated by Asian-American comic book artist and creator Jane Zei. Jane Zei is based in Massachusetts and came up with the idea for The Pigeon Gazette in 2015 whilst engulfed in the emotional turmoil of a quarter-life crisis. The Pigeon Gazette is a slice-of-life comic inspired by Jane's bizarre and relatable experiences as a twenty-something young adult navigating the world of adulthood.

I read Success Is 90% Spite while sitting in a hospital bed. I was feeling pretty miserable at the time, so Zei's book was a much-needed distraction. It was so charming and delightful, it managed to get a smile and a chuckle out of me, which I was immensely grateful for. Success Is 90% Spite features fan-favourite comic strips from The Pigeon Gazette, as well as never-before-seen comics. The book follows Jane as she experiences her daily life, from playing too much video games, to staying up to late at night, studying for exams, awkward attempts at flirting, and relationship break ups. Jane tells these stories with an upbeat, imaginative twist that will make you laugh.

The Pigeon Gazette has been featured in articles in the Huffington Post, Bored Panda and Buzzfeed. It pokes fun at "adulting" which is a term used to describe how difficult it can be to meet the mundane demands of being an independent adult, such as paying bills and finding a job. The comic shares a lot of similarities with another viral webcomic, Sarah's Scribbles by Sarah Andersen, which also deals with the topic of adulting.

When I was a kid, I always thought that life would be easier when I would become an adult, and that adults always knew what they were doing. The truth is, life doesn't get any easier when you grow up, and adults don't have all the answers or always know what they are doing. That is why I enjoy comics like The Pigeon Gazette so much. Jane Zei explains in the opening pages of Success Is 90% Spite that there are no actual pigeons in her comic. The reason she named it The Pigeon Gazette is because Zei thinks people are just like pigeons. Pigeons live a pretty mundane existence. They spend their days hanging around parks and picnic tables, trying not to get hit by traffic and always pooping in the wrong spot. Adults are not that much different. Our daily lives are pretty mundane and repetitive and that is what Success Is 90% Spite is all about. All of the stories Zei tells in this book are very relatable because we're all just pigeons fighting for the same crumbs.

For more information about Jane Zei and her comics, visit her website.

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Why? Based on the popular webcomic The Pigeon Gazette, Success Is 90% Spite follows comic book artist Jane Zei through life as she struggles to navigate the world of adulthood.
Cost: $17.99 - $29.00
Your Comment
I'd never heard of the Pigeon Gazette, but it sounds like my sort of comic. Cheers.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1196) 120 days ago
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