Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

I wanted to include some graphic novels in my database but I don’t know much about them so I asked for some recommendations from some friends. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life was nominated for three Harvey Awards in 2005 (retrieved August 3rd, 2009 from http://www.harveyawards.org/awards_2005nom.html) and won the 2005 Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent (retrieved August 3r, 2009 from http://www.wrightawards.ca/archive/2005_nominees.html).

Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
ISBN-10: 1932664084 ISBN-13: 9781932664089
City and Publisher: Portland, OR: Oni
Copyright Date: 2004
Author’s Website: http://www.radiomaru.com/
Book Website: http://www.scottpilgrim.com/

Reader’s Annotation: Scott Pilgrim is an old school slacker; he’s twenty three, plays in a band, and shares a bed with his roommate because he’s too poor to buy his own. While he’s happy with the simple life dating his seventeen year old girlfriend and never even kissing, when Ramona Flowers starts showing up in his dreams he ends up getting a little obsessed.

Plot Summary: Scott Pilgrim lives in a Canadian city and kind of sponges off his gay roommate Wallace. He plays in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and dates a seventeen year old high school student because he appreciates the simplicity of gossiping about schoolmates and not kissing. However, when Ramona Flowers starts showing up in his dreams, he starts getting a little obsessed.

Critical Evaluation: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life balances artwork and story nicely. The illustrations are interesting as art, but also enhance the story in a fascinating non-verbal manner. O’Malley is a master at creating expression in his characters eyes, which generates a great deal of subtext and increases their three dimensionality. He writes a dynamic that is both alienated and naive, both trendy pop culture and nerdy classic. The ending is as raucous as it is hilarious, an overt nod to Street Fighter video games.

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14 and up
Curriculum Ties: While Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is mostly just a fun read, it is also an excellent graphic novel, and students studying this genre of literature could do worse than reading it.
Booktalking Ideas: Presenting the first two pages of chapter one would show teens what Scott Pilgrim is all about.

Genre: Graphic Novel
Influences from Other Genres: Video Games, Adventure, Romance
Other Information: A Scott Pilgrim movie, produced by Universal, directed by Edgar Wright, and starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is scheduled for release in 2010 (More details at http://www.scottpilgrimthemovie.com/).

Challenge Issues: Scott Pilgrim is a twenty three year old dating a seventeen year old, which is definitely icky and probably illegal in most states. Luckily this book is set in Canada. This forbidden romance is tempered by its innocence as Scott Pilgrim is not a skeevy older guy; he is a lost young adult searching for meaning. Later in the book, there is another potentially adult moment when Scott walks in on Ramona changing and ends up spending the night in her bed. But again, the defining characteristic of his interaction with this girl is innocence, as they decide to do nothing more than sleep side by side. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life winds up arguing for romance without sex.

About the Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley is a Canadian cartoonist. He also makes music under the name Kupek, a band in which he is the only member. (More details at http://www.radiomaru.com/)

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