Nate Dunlevy vs The World (a book review)

I review things from time to time.  Don’t ask.  Just go with it.

I’ll have you know, I’m no hipster.  I’m an utter poser.

At least I admit that I know it.

I first saw the trailers for the movie Scott Pilgrim versus the World about six months ago.  Being devoted to Arrested Development, I feel oddly compelled to pay attention to every subsequent Michael Cera project. The movie looked spectacular and weird. I had no idea what Scott Pilgrim was all about, and I had no clue that it was based on a series of comic books that has been around since 2004.

A number of you are now disgusted with me and have stopped paying attention.  Pardon my ignorance.  Let’s not pick on the middled aged square guy.

While I’m obviously too old to be reading comic books, I’m also too immature not to.  I went down to pick up the first of the six volume set: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.

After reading volume 1, I immediately bought the final five editions.  Quite simply, Scott Pilgrim is spectacular.

The set follows the life of 23 year old Toronto slacker and bassist Scott Pilgrim as he struggles to get past his past and grow the hell up already.  The books follow Scott and his dysfunctional urban family for about 18 simultaneously life changing and mind numbingly boring months.  They center on Scott’s relationship with a mysterious and mystical ‘ninja’ delivery girl named Ramona Flowers.

Though on the surface the books are a realistic tale of quarter life crisis, they soon evolve into a surreal collage of music and video game fighting, as Scott and Ramona try and deal with their pasts as embodied by epic super powered fights between Pilgrim and Ramona’s 7 evil exs.  Pilgrim gets knocked around pretty severely by an assortment of vegan psychics, douchey hipsters, and non-white/non-jocks in an effort to officially win the right to live happily ever after with Ramona.

I realize that there is no sane way to explain the events of Scott Pilgrim to a rational personal.  Instead of focusing on the insanity of the books, just remember this:

  • Scott Pilgrim books are painfully hilarious.  I mean, my wife and I have been laughing out loud for days reading them.
  • They are unflaggingly original and unlike anything you’ve read before.
  • The perfectly capture the pathos of today’s delayed adolescent culture in a uniquely authentic way.
  • They are simultaneously beautifully drawn and silly.

I have no idea if the movie is going to be good.  I hope and pray it will be.  Everything in the trailers has been meticulously lifted directly from the pages of the books.  All I know is that good or bad, in 40 years when people want to know what it felt like to be 23 years old at the turn of this century, Scott Pilgrim will be best way to explain it from the inside.

If you’ve never read one, go out and buy volume 1.  The books can be had for $7 and change on Amazon, and they are worth every penny.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to being a grown up.

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