Scott Pilgrim by author Brian Lee O’Malley
I am certain many of you are Scott Pilgrim fans. It seems to be an extraordinarily popular series and movie. I saw the movie however many years ago, around when it came out. I thought it was, fine. I just wasn’t blown away by it like everyone else seemed to be.
Now, after so many people recommending I read the books I’ve finally completed the entire series. And I can tell you, it’s fine.
I guess I just don’t get why it’s so memorable for people. Maybe if I read it in my early 20s and maybe if my early 20s involved me being a slacker I would relate to it more. But here’s a fact about me. I’ve never been that character.
When I was in my early 20s I was working for the government, had a steady paycheck way higher than most of my friends. I had my own place. I was engaged. I had a savings account and a car that was paid off.
Sure I was a college dropout and I drank way too much but I was never aimless and lazy. I’ve never been fired from a job and I’ve never let bills go unpaid. I know this experience is by no means universal but it does make it hard for me to relate to characters like Scott Pilgrim.
Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old and he’s “dating” a 17 year old. Gross. Her name is Knives and she’s way too naive to understand that Scott’s a total loser. And he’s too flaky and noncommital to let her off the hook.
He then falls in love at first sight with a more appropriately aged woman, Ramona. The rest of the series involves him battling her exes in order to win her as a sort of prize.
Now, this premise is two things. Really weird and pretty sexist.
It’s set up like a video game. Even down to Scott winning bonus lives, coins, or items when he defeats a mini boss ex. Honestly, this idea is really interesting. It’s unique and fun and I did enjoy it. Especially since everyone in the books just acts like it’s totally normal and it’s never really discussed.
However, the sexist part is a offputting. Let me say this, again, women are not prizes. They are not property to be won or fought over. Women can make their own decisions about who to date and if they don’t choose you just let it go.
The series goes through 6 volumes with one big ex battle per book. The seriess could easily be halved and have the same effect. It gets repetitive and kind of boring pretty quickly. The quirkiness isn’t enough to keep me engaged.
It’s a simple book that goes on for too long. Parts of it are funny or cute but I found it hard to really care about the characters. Additionally, they all look the same and it gets kind of confusing who is even who if they don’t mention a name.
Nostalgia is a powerful force. Many people have it in one way or another for this book. If you enjoy it, great, I’m happy you’re happy. But if you’re like me and had a pretty different life experience when you were young you may not have that nostalgia factor that makes this book work.
Luckily it’s a quick read so if you want to give it a shot it’s not a long term committment. Just the way Scott Pilgrim likes it.
3/5 video game references 🎮🎮🎮
For a much darker graphic novel about early adulthood check out The End of the Fucking World.
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Buy it here: Scott Pilgrim 6 Books Collection Set (Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour)