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.
in order to keep me up to my ears in books please consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!
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)
7 thoughts on “Scott Pilgrim, Complete Series Review”
Great review! I loved the movie when I was young (the soundtrack is so good) but have never picked up the books. Now I’m not sure it’s even worth it lol
I’ve heard a few people say the movie is actually better because it’s condensed and has all the bright flashing colors the book was missing
I’ll just mention my reaction as someone who was in my late 40’s, steady job, and married when I read Scott Pilgrim — and was amazed by it. I reread it recently (now in my 50’s) and found even more to like about it. One thing I’d mention in this brief comment is that I find the Scott worldview — women as prizes, life is a video game, etc — is thoroughly deconstructed by the end of the series. Scott’s major perception shift by the end is realizing what an awful person he was. So I found a lot in it, even being decades older than the target audience.
The movie… meh…
Interesting. I do think there is value in him outgrowing those kinds of games. And you’re the first one to not like the movie!
I couldn’t get into the comics and didn’t watch the movie until it had been out for a long time, so I’m right there with you in giving it a resounding “meh” aside from a handful of scenes here and there.
If you like the videogame aspects as part of the narrative I’d recommend checking out the LitRPG genre; when done right it gives you more room for storytelling than you’d get out of a straight fantasy plot. I’m having a lot of fun balancing the game-logic and fantasy elements in the one I’m writing at the moment. The Completionist Chronicles by Dakota Krout would be my recommendation for a well done LitRPG example.
That does sound interesting! Good recommendation!
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