MacK's Reviews > Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness

Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley
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Apr 26, 09

bookshelves: world-lit
Read in April, 2009

I think what makes the third book (and each progressive volume in the series) so enjoyable is that a little more is added to the characters with each turn. While popular novels written to be read in a sequence (like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings) establish character types and backgrounds quickly, this is not the case in Scott Pilgrim.

Suddenly, Scott's personality traits (particularly in regards to how he treats women) make more sense. The slowly revealed back story allows the reader to understand Scott the same way a new friend would, bit by bit rather than all at once in an orgy of explication.

Equally impressive to me is O'Malley's ability to shine an honest light on the traits of all his characters. While Envy Adams could easily be dismissed as an antagonist (or "heartless bitch" as the kids call them these days) O'Malley does show a little empathy in her story, a little sadness in her soul. While Scott and Ramona could easily be elevated to arch-heroes, they retain a hint of insincerity, even pettiness, that makes them more real than we might otherwise want.

While reading this book I talked with my girlfriend who complained about the stupidity of sitcom characters, the ones who make the same mistakes over and over again until you have no sympathy left for them. And I pointed out to her the beauty of Arrested Development where those characters exist, but only because the creative forces wanted to demonstrate the stupidity of never changing. The same seems true about O'Malley's work--Scott and Ramona (not to mention Envy, Knives, Kim, Stephen or Julie) might not change, but if they don't grow, it's because O'Malley wants them to remain in maturation limbo.

And despite this, despite the frustrations of the inertia in some characters, there is a great deal to be loved in the supporting cast which grows on me with each passing book. The stories of Wallace, Kim and Young Neil seem as rich to me as any, and I look forward to seeing more of them in future books, but for the present I'll be satisfied with what I have and hope that some day a poorly explained piece of Deus ex Machina will save me from a fiery death.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kristina Way to make me sound like a complainer!
p.s. I love arrested development


Kristina Now I'm trying to figure out why the characters selfishness/lack of development bothered me so much in Seinfeld but not in Arrested Development...?


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