Review: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

by Kim on April 7, 2009 · 4 comments

Title: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Length: 168 pages, but since it’s a comic book the whole thing took me about 30 minutes to read.

Two Sentence Summary: Unemployed, 23-year-old wannabe rockstar Scott Pilgrim has a pretty easy-going life until he runs into a hot rollerblading girl in his life and in his dreams. In order to date this new girl, Scott will have to find it in himself to battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

One Sentence Review: With a wacky concept and a strange video-game inspired final battle, Scott Pilgrim is a cute comic book, but it’s ultimately a little uninspiring.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Long Summary: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is the story of 23-year-old Canadian slacker named Scott Pilgrim. For reasons not yet explained, he’s out of a job, not interested in a serious relationship, and doesn’t have motivation for anything except his less-than stellar rockband. He’s dating a high school girl named Knives Chau, which he likes because he doesn’t have to do much work (all they do is talk about her school).

Scott’s precious life takes a major turn, however, when American delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers rollerblades into Scott’s life and his dreams. After a great first date, Scott discovers that in order to date Ramona he’ll have to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Chaos ensues.

Why I Read Scott Pilgrim: Since I’m getting to the end of Bill Willingham’s Fables series, I’ve been on the lookout for more comic books to read.  I got Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life after a friend from college, Aaron, put it on his recommendation list of 12 Comics for People Who Don’t Read Comics. Here’s what Aaron said about the book:

The concept always sounded a little goofy to me, maybe a little lame, but when I finally gave the first volume a read, I was quickly swept up in things. O’Malley mixes video game and musical techniques into his storytelling, freeing himself from a lot of the tropes of teenage romance in the process and ending up with a fun, surprising, and interactive comic. … The final scene of the book, a massive brawl set to the participants’ singing, is one of the strangest things I’ve read in awhile.

Long Review: I have to admit, I wasn’t as swept away by the book as Aaron was. I initially liked the story because O’Malley does a lovely job of creating his characters and setting up their relationships using a creative storytelling style — different panels have the feel of a video game, music video, and a straight-up comic book. In one, O’Malley tells readers a ton about Scott and his gay roommate Wallace by going through their apartment and showing who owns all the stuff — very funny!

However, once I got to the end when Scott confronts the first of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends, the comic book took a turn that I’m still not sure about. The story turns into a sort of a video game action story where Scott fights the first evil ex-boyfriend during a rock concert using some sort of magical powers and dance fighting. The jump from romance story to action adventure was a little jarring.

Ultimately, I wasn’t blow away by the book, but I didn’t dislike it either. I’ll probably finish the series since each comic is so short and the series is being made into a movie starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Recommended For: people who like video games, people who need an easy comic book read, people who like stories about relationships, people that don’t mind crazy final battle sequences

Other Reviews: books & other thoughts;

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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