Birthday book: Lost at Sea

February 21, 2010

It’s Bryan Lee O’Malley’s birthday. I can always happily recommend his Scott Pilgrim books, which Kate (The Manga Critic) Dacey puts in the number one slot of her list of ten great global manga. (That’s a great list, by the way. I can’t think of a thing I’d add.) But chances are good you’ve already read all of the Scott Pilgrim books at least once.

Fortunately, there’s a pre-Pilgrim book I can recommend without reservation, Lost at Sea (Oni). Here’s the publisher’s description:

“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. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it’s just what she needs – or maybe it can help her find what she needs – or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.”

And here’s a bit from my review of the book:

“It’s a fairly universal state of mind, but O’Malley portrays it [in] articulate, sensitive ways that are entirely specific to his protagonist. He gives Raleigh a barbed, revealing stream-of-consciousness narration that never becomes tiresome. It’s not some dreary poetry journal; it’s the often jumbled thinking of a smart young woman who doesn’t know if she’s actually in crisis or is really just like everyone else, or which of those states would be less comforting.”

If you haven’t read Lost at Sea, celebrate O’Malley’s birthday by picking up a copy. I think you’ll really enjoy it.