O’Malley, Bryan Lee. Seconds.

NY: Ballantine, 2014.

This is the second of O’Malley’s graphic novels I’ve read and I think I’m becoming a fan. He’s certainly a first-rate writer. This one is about Katie, who’s got things going pretty good in her life — only twenty-eight and already the head chef in her own very popular restaurant, with plans to open another one of which she’ll also be half-owner.

The only bad thing, actually, is that the guy she’s starry-eyed for is now her ex-boyfriend. And she’s having a little fling in the kitchen with Andrew, the guy she’s been training to replace her. And there’s Hazel, the exceptionally nice waitress who’s also a knockout. And naive, and easily manipulated, and not much liked by the other girls at Seconds.

Naturally, Katie’s unhappy with things. The ancient building she’s having renovated for her new restaurant is becoming a money pit. Living in a tiny apartment over the restaurant (to save money for the new place) is a drag. She’s regretting decisions made and is wishing she could go back and change them. And then, through Hazel, she discovers Lis, the house spirit who also lives at Seconds. And Lis’s magic mushrooms can, in fact, change things. Great, right?

So Katie changes things to get Max back. She changes them again so Hazel won’t be burned in a kitchen accident. And again, when she gets food poisoning. Then she stays up all night and gets drunk — and changes that. She realizes she can do anything she wants, and then fix it in the morning — as long as she doesn’t run out of mushrooms. And, naturally, it all gets out of control. Can Katie save herself? Can she put things back the way they were? This one is quite different from the “Scott Pilgrim” series, both in the narrative style and in the artwork. It’s also considerably more mature. What they have in common is a very naturalistic approach, especially in the dialogue. I’ll be tracking O’Malley new work with interest

Published in: on 6 May 2016 at 7:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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