Just a Girl in the World
Bryan Lee O'Malley is most famous for his graphic novel series "Scott Pilgrim," which was also turned into a motion picture this past year. This graphic novel, "Lost at Sea," is a much more realistic slice of life story, though it still holds some of the same quirkiness that Scott Pilgrim carries around with him.
Raleigh is eighteen, traveling in a car with three strange kids from her school up through California toward Canada, and is pretty sure a cat stole her soul when she was younger. Centering around the road trip and mental journey of Raleigh as she joins Stephanie, an "in your face" girl with a new look for every day of the week, Ian, the driver and know it all of the gang, and Dave, the dark brooding member, they traverse the American West through rest stops and fast food joints on their way back home.
The book takes a look at the mental processes of a teenage girl who has played the part of an outcast most of her life. The text takes a look at themes and instances in teenage life that ring true to losing best friends and feeling estranged from parents and peers. The artwork is simple, but bold and engaging. The dialogue and captions come thick and fast, but are welcomed in the very dreary and cartoony atmosphere that O'Malley builds around the characters, who read just like people you knew in high school who would sneak off to the local 24-hour restaurant to smoke.
I read this book in a single sitting, which is saying mouthfuls in and of itself. Some of us may be past our teenage angst years, but this book revisits them with an admittance of insanity and confusion, neither celebrating or putting down the horribly wonderful years in high school.