There are books that stick with you, stories hit you squarely in the right moment so they get into your guts. I can name mine without thinking, Little Women, Great Expectations, The Princess Diaries, Bitter Is The New Black, and Scott Pilgrim, which I read when I was 22, teetering on some life choices I wasn’t ready for, and kind of an asshole.
So, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s story of not quite kids, not quite adults, and video games and growing up hit me hard and fast and got inside me. To the point where I put off reading his second story, Seconds for years, not wanting to be let down.
But, I’ve been missing comics, so I plucked it off of the library shelf a few weeks ago. Why not start again at the beginning, right? Anyway, Seconds does tackle many of the same themes as Scott Pilgrim (adulthood, what is it? How do you do it? What is being friends? Romantic relationships, they are, huh?) Our hero this time is Katie, she and her friends opened a restaurant, but everyone else has moved on and she’s trying to but it’s not going well.
She befriends one of her waitress’s and also starts having visions of the House Spirit that inhabits the building, named Lis. She also starts overdoseing on magic mushrooms that allow her to rewrite her mistakes. This gets her back her ex boyfriend (though doesn’t erase the fling she had after they broke up, which makes her a cheater) has her choose a cleaner location for her new restaurant (but at the expense of it being her dream place and a place of her own) and largely causes everything to unravel.
O’Malley does good work with comics, he creates worlds that live fully on the page and characters that are cute and fun, and again, kind of assholes. (Man, Scott and Katie would get along in their confusion over human behavior.) And of course this wonderful joke gets repeated.
Seconds was worth the read, and I’m going to start pulling more comics. (In sticking to my no straight white men rule, I plan on catching up with some writers who I’ve always admired but never gotten super into.)
Up next is The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent Of Angels In America an oral history of the play assembled by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois, Angels In America made a pretty big impact on my year, so if this is the last thing that I read before New Year’s it seems appropriate.