i have bitched about this book for years. let me say, i read it without knowledge of its prize winning. i bought it because i liked the cover and i loved comics. and i liked the beginnings very much, during that comic era, and joe and sammy as youths, and bob kane: numbnuts and all the old gang. however once joe acquires and then leaves his hoochie behind for war in anarctica and sammy decides to marry her (notwithstanding his gayness and hot boyfriend) and every possible thwarting of joy was brought to bear, it just fell apart for me. this is a novel that lost its way, as far as i'm concerned. people who tell me that sammy's concerns about living as a gay man were real and that chabon is accurately reflecting the past seem conveniently to forget how not real a lot of the rest of it is, how all of the other over-the-top barely credible things that do happen, they mount up and up, and eventually i couldn't help it, i began to guffaw. yep. i laughed in this book's face. i just don't buy the choices his characters make in this book.