Back in February, I read and loved the first three books in O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series, so I just knew I wanted to read some more of his work, and I remembered that both Chris and Nymeth had said really great things about it.
Raleigh doesn’t have a soul.
A cat stole it. Or at least that’s what she tells people.
Or at least that’s what she would tell people, if she told people anything.
Why is it all so terrifying? Why is everyone so hard to deal with? Why is she in a car with three of her classmates, driving halfway across the country? What is she even doing here? She doesn’t even know them!
Raleigh is eighteen years old, and she has no idea what she’s doing. If you’ve ever been eighteen, or confused, or both, maybe you should read this book.
As I said at the start, I read this one after reading some of the Scott Pilgrim series, and whilst there are some similarities in the way the characters are drawn, there is a very different tone being portrayed here. It’s far more introspective and melancholy in both story and the art. You’d expect as much after reading the synopsis I suppose
But the way O’Malley draws his characters is one of the reasons I love his books, such a deceptive simple style, yet they convey so much. In Pilgrim it was mostly fun and happiness, in this one, he really captures the emptiness and self-doubt Raleigh is struggling with, brilliantly. It seems daft to say the panels fill the page, but they really do, it feels a much bigger world than compact book you’re holding.
The internal self-facing struggle of Raleigh is balanced nicely by the banter and pointless bickering of her new friends, and it’s the easy friendship they offer that starts to draw Raleigh out of herself.
O’Malley manages to deliver a wonderfully tender tale, neatly avoiding the many clichés it could be filled with. Anybody that can remember their teenage years, will find some feeling or emotion they recognise in this one, whether its Raleigh’s confusion and struggle to find herself or the camaraderie and self-confidence of her friends (more likely something from both!).
A lovely little tale that will stay with you, long after Raleigh and her friends say goodbye to you.