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Paul's April 2014 pick
Over Easy by Mimi Pond
A fascinating, sometimes laconic, sometimes frenetic exploration of the California of the 1970s, this graphic novel grapples with the drama of growing up in a funny, light-hearted yet strangely moving way. The drawing is as affecting as the storyline. The characters will eerily remind you of friends, or friends of friends, who you end up liking despite everything you learn about them. Pond also has an excellent ear for dialogue & a fine eye for obscure details of diners & dilapidated apartments. The way she captures the transformation of the counter-culture from hippies to punks is brilliant enough to serve as a history lesson for those who were born after “God Save the Queen” conquered radio. You should read this book & revisit the shag carpeting & recreational sex era, when run-down diners could be the place to go for those with nothing better to do than feel alive!
A fast-paced semi-memoir about diners, drugs, and California in the 1970s
Over Easy is a brilliant portrayal of a familiar coming-of-age story. After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straightlaced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Cafe, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced artistic ambitions, sexual confusion, dependencies, and addictions.Over Easy is equal parts time capsule of late 1970s life in California--with its deadheads, punks, disco rollers, casual sex, and drug use--and bildungsroman of a young woman who grows from a naive, sexually inexperienced art-school dropout into a self-aware, self-confident artist. Mimi Pond's chatty, slyly observant anecdotes create a compelling portrait of a distinct moment in time. Over Easy is an immediate, limber, and precise semi-memoir narrated with an eye for the humor in every situation.
“As funny and warm-hearted as a memoir about a bunch of punks, drug dealers, hippies, and art school dropouts screwing in the 1970s can get. Mimi Pond’s coming-of-age graphic novel, Over Easy, is a delicious charmer.” —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
“Mimi Pond's hilarious, sassy wit and skillful illustrations in Over Easy served me a delicious slice of life of 1970s California with a side of brainy observations! I laughed out loud and enjoyed every last bite of it!!”—Charlotte Caffey “Funny, rich and with a clear affection for its cast of kooky characters, this book is alive with the gritty promise of youth.”—Wendy Lawless, author of Chanel Bonfire
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