O'Malley, B.L. (2004). Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. Portland, Or: Oni Press, Inc.
So, I'm the type of person who likes to read a book before I watch the movie version. It's not that I'm a book snob (okay, I am a book snob. But not about this.). I don't always assume that the book is better. Rather, I just like to know how a story ends before I reach the ending in the traditional way. With books I can flip ahead. That's not so easy in the movie theater.
So, I picked up the first book in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series after I heard some good reviews of the movie.
Appetizer: Scott Pilgrim has a new girlfriend. He's dating a seventeen-year-old high schooler named Knives. They met on the bus.
I'm going to interrupt my own review right there. Speaking as someone who has just transferred beyond the point when she can be declared to be in her "early twenties" (sigh), the thought of a 23-year-old dating a highschooler is the sceeviest thing in the world. The sceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeviest! I thought it was icky when I was in high school too. I always wonder about twenty-somethings that date teens. My exact question is usually, "Why can't this person get someone closer to their own age?"
So, imagine my love for the character Kim, a friend of Scott's, when she calls him on it:
Whenever anyone does anything, I'm now going to ask, "Are you evil, or are you really happy?" Like if a student is late for class, "Are you evil or are you really happy?" If a barista asks me if I want whipped cream on my soy white mocha, I will answer, "Are you evil or are you really happy?"
So, after having rambled about the disturbing age difference, Scott and Knives are really cute together. She was embarrassed to hold his hand on the bus. Scott takes Knives to see his band practice and she winds up with stars in her eyes. Plus, Scott's roommate, Wallace, and all his friends give him a hard enough time that I feel like that the reader won't walk away feeling that such an age difference is a good plan for their own future relationships.
But despite the cuteness, Scott's dreams are haunted by another girl...one he sees around town, one who rollerblades outside in winter. Scott goes out of his way (spends some of Wallace's money) to meet her and, despite seeming crazy/stalkery manages to snag a date with the mystery girl, Ramona.
Reread that last paragraph. There was a step missing. Between being cute with Knives and going out with Ramona, Scott fails to break-up with his current girlfriend. And I know Knives is all first-romance-naive and Scott is all I-don't-want-to-hurt-her, but his inability to end one relationship before starting another made me like Scott less as a character. A lot less.
But of course, this inability to break up with Knives comes back to haunt him when he and his band have a gig. Both Knives and Ramona are there.
Complicating Scott's life further, he's started getting messages from a guy he doesn't know, insisting they have to fight (and what I imagine to be the plot of the movie ensues). But I don't know for sure--I still haven't seen the movie. And the book ends with a cliffhanger.
While personally I finished the book feeling only mildly entertained, I can see the appeal. Scott has a lot of amusing conversations with the (totally awesome!) and less-than-supportive secondary characters. Scott is a music-loving young guy who has a lot of friends to joke with and who struggles with romance. I think Scott's experiences reflect the interests of just about every guy I was friends with in high school. So, I'm definitely keeping this series in mind as a good YA recommendation. And I was amused enough to request book two (Scott Pilgrim Versus the World) from the library.
So, dear readers, do I read volume two next or give in and see the movie?
Scott: Just so I tell you before you hear some dirty lies from someone else, yes, I'm dating a 17-year-old.
Wallace: Is he cute?
Scott: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
Wallace: Does this mean we have to stop sleeping together?
Scott: No, it's cool. Chill out. It's like in Trainspotting [, dating a teenager].
Wallace: Okay, first of all, in Trainspotting, remember how he was freaking out and all worried? That was because he knew it was sick and wrong and illegal. Secondly, remember how she was coercing him into dating her?
Scott: No, Dude, it's not like that at all.
Wallace: You just said it was like that!
Scott: Okay, maybe I didn't watch that movie very carefully.
Ramona: Um, I guess you have to fight my--seven?--evil ex-boyfriends. Um, if you want to like, date me.
Scott: Seven evil ex-boyfriends?
Ramona: Six or seven.
Scott: You dated seven evil dudes?
Ramona: Not all at once.
Tasty Rating: !!!