Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Review)

Book cover for "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" by Bryan Lee O'Malley.Title: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Publication Year: 2004

Pages: 168

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel

Source: Purchased from Chapters

From the cover:

Scott Pilgrim’s life is so awesome. He’s 23 years old, in a rock band, “between jobs,” and dating a cute high school girl. Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ms. Flowers isn’t covered in rose petals. Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness. Can Scott beat the bad guys and get the girl without turning his precious little life upside-down?

I didn’t really know what to expect from the Scott Pilgrim series, except that I knew that they are set in Toronto, and that one of the people at my book club said they are awesome. The entire series (1-6) is our book club pick this month, which happens on Sunday – and so, this week, you are going to be treated to my reviews of each one!

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is the first volume of the series, and pretty much sets up all of the characters and the beginnings of the major situations that will come up later. At the outset, Scott is dating a 17-year-old girl named Knives – which is really just weird, something that his friends point out right from the beginning – and is living and sharing a futon on the living room floor with his gay roommate, Wallace. He also has friends who are in a band, and at different points in the story, it seems like he is and is not in the band as well, which is somewhat confusing. Very soon, he meets a girl named Ramona who he suddenly becomes attracted to, and it all goes on from there.

For the most part, I thought that this first volume was fairly decent, if what you’re looking for is a fun graphic novel aimed at young adults and with characters who are very much immature adolescents – or, at least, 20-somethings who act like immature adolescents. I don’t mean to knock it, but this series is very much aimed at the 13+ demographic, and has the maturity level to prove it. Scott and his “girlfriend” never even have a first kiss until around the middle of the story – until then, he says, they “haven’t even held hands”. This is explained away by a few obscure references to some past relationship of Scott’s that has messed him up.

That’s not so bad, though, when you think about the demographic of readers for this series. The storyline in general is fairly simple and easy to follow, but you do find yourself wanting to learn more about the characters and what will happen to them. I also found myself – like Scott – intrigued by Ramona’s life before she moved to Toronto, something that is hinted at but never explained in any amount of detail. It seems as if this is being left for later, which is a good thing to keep readers interested.

My one major complaint with Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is the way that the “evil ex-boyfriends” – and Scott’s apparent need to defeat them – is introduced into the story. The plot twist is fine, it’s appropriate for a graphic novel and for this type of demographic, and it could turn out to be quite interesting as the series progresses. What bothered me, though, was the way that the fight sequence began: all of a sudden, Ramona’s first ex-boyfriend (from grade school, no less) shows up at a band gig and starts to fight Scott. At this point, with no warning whatsoever, it is suddenly revealed that Scott is “the best fighter in the province”.

Uhm … where did that come from?

This is the very first mention, in the entire story, about Scott having any idea what to do in a fight, let alone that he is supposedly the #1 fighter in all of Ontario. From here, the feeling of the volume really shifted for me, becoming a lot more video game-like and way less believable. I’m really hoping that somehow this gets explained and fleshed out later on in the series.

I’m going to be continuing with the Scott Pilgrim series, but so far, I’m not overly impressed. Not disappointed, mind you – it just wasn’t as great as I was expecting it to be, given all the hype that it’s received.



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