Review: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I am not a graphic novel reader. Sure, I’ve tried them out on occasion, but by and large, I’m not a fan of pictures and thought bubbles in lieu of text that I can sink my teeth into. Had I not seen the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim before spotting this title on NetGalley, I likely wouldn’t have requested it. However, I’d enjoyed the movie’s quirky coolness and so decided that Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life would be a good candidate to test the waters of the storytelling capabilities of the graphic novel.

It’s been a while since I watched the film version, but from what I remember, it appears that the filmmakers adapted the story quite faithfully. It almost seemed as if I were reading the screenplay, as I could recall having heard most of the dialogue before. That’s not a bad thing, considering the fact that O’Malley’s witty way with

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life: Volume 1 by Bryan Lee O’Malley

words is the best thing about this book. I’m no expert on comic book artistry (in fact, I’m not really a fan of cartoonish artwork), but the format seemed to fit Scott’s story rather well. Still, I can’t say that the novelty of viewing another artist’s interpretation of the author’s depictions is intriguing enough to lure me away from the standard novel. That being said, I doubt that Scott Pilgrim’s story is really meaty enough to sustain an entire novel’s worth of narrative, unless perhaps O’Malley grouped all the volumes together into a single book. Suffice it to say, Scott Pilgrim’s story is rather as precious as the title implies. The events are improbable, insufficiently explained to this avid reader of explicit fantasy worldbuilding, and the characters are for the most part unlikeable layabouts. However, if you are able to look past all that (or, in fact, are partial to the humorous layabout type), the dialogue is quite funny and the premise unique.

I can’t say that I’m eager to procure the remaining installments in Scott’s tale. Perhaps if Verona were just a little bit sympathetic or even interesting in her unwarranted confidence, I would have more incentive to witness Scott achieve his happily-ever-after. As it is, I’ll probably just rely on what memory I have of the movie and assume that the screenwriters didn’t change that much of the story. Scott Pilgrim is probably a really good graphic novel; unfortunately for Scott and O’Malley, I’m just not among its target audience.

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