A week or two ago, my husband threw down a hardcover book in front of me and demanded that I read it. He never does this, so my interest was naturally piqued. I love to read, but let’s not lie: If it’s not about some teenagers falling in love while fighting to the death in a dystopian, fractioned society while having cancer then I’m probably not interested (if you can name the three books I just references, mad props to you, literary nerd).
I gazed at the book and soon realized it was a comic — or graphic novel, I suppose … since comics are in paper and graphic novels are in hard covers, maybe? Who knows. I don’t understand the difference at all. Not the point. The point is, in front of me lay the new graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley called “Seconds.” My husband just finished reading it and said it was “super cute” (EXACT WORDS) and that I would love it. Debatable.
I picked it up and thought, what the hell. I knew I had a good hour to read as my husband was making pasta for dinner, and god forbid that be an empty-the-jar-open-the-box kind of meal, but a two-hour-long process for whatever reason is holy. But I digress. I began to read.
First off, graphic novels are pretty much adult picture books. There. I said it. The ratio of drawings to words is no contest. Second, why does the main character, Katie, have eyes so much larger than everyone else’s? Not important, I know, I just couldn’t get past that. Anyhoo … the story is as follows:
Katie, the main character, is a pretty rad and talented chef. She helps run a successful restaurant called Seconds and is currently working on opening her own (at Seconds she isn’t technically an owner per se but business partner/head chef). Also, she is kind of a whiny bitch. One day she starts complaining about the progress on the new location, so she goes to Seconds to have all the customers tell her how fantastic her cooking is i.e. ego boost. All is well until her James Franco-esque ex-boyfriend is spotted dining with a PYT. She goes over after he flags her down, and she is freaking out. Like, she is sweating like me in a body step class.
She is somewhat relieved that it is only his sister he is dining with, but he “wants to talk” and she looks like she is about to shit herself, so she flees to the kitchen where she grabs the new chef Andrew, a Donald Glover-esque looking lad, and starts macking on him in the closet. Due to her mack sesh, Hazel, the most beautiful waitress in the world who apparently has no friends (EYE ROLL PLEASE), gets badly hurt. Katie freaks out, because that is what she %@#$ing does, and takes Hazel to the hospital, where her arms are now covered in burn scars.
Instead of feeling sorry for Hazel, Katie is all “woe is me, look what I did” (bitch, sit DOWN!). As she is feeling sorry for herself and her pretty sweet life (Um, the ex-boyfriend and chef A are both total hotties and she is cute and successful, so you know, please send prayers and thoughts her way. Blurgh.), this god damn Helena clone from Orphan Black appears in her room (she is a house spirit, obviously) offering her a second chance/do-over.
With a special mushroom (ummmmm…..) and a notebook all she has to do is:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew
And just like that, BOOM, all the bad shit never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. You get where I’m going with this right? It’s like “It’s a Wonderful Life” meets “Groundhog Day” with a shit ton of magic mushrooms.
But with all things, there are rules aka fun killers.
And Katie doesn’t care about the rules –thug anyway– and she soon finds out that each time she abuses the mushroom power more bad than good shit happens. She keeps moving from her old world to this new darker world (this was my favorite) where she has ended up hiring skeletons as servers in Seconds, and everyone is like, “Skeletons, psssht, no big deal, YOLO. Am I right?”
Finally after not listening to Orphan Black and eating far too many magic mushrooms, an evil house spirit who was taken (quick call Liam Neeson!) starts to slowly fight Katie and Orphan Black. Finally it and Katie end up all alone in this cold dark world of hate and nothing, because you know evil always wins at first. Whomp, whomp.
Still even in this world Katie is still a selfish bitch. I’m sorry, she kind of was the WORST! When things were great she was greedy and wanted more, all thinking about herself the entire time and not how it affected those around her. THE WORST. Like, I had Divergent rage while reading this, and Divergent made me want to throw my Kindle at times, but that is for another blog.
So finally, after being all “woe is me” Katie finally gets a clue and realizes what a shit she’s been. She goes to the evil other-world Katie and melts her cold black tar exterior and says, we are buddies now, I get it, I’m sorry, let me return with you and all will be right, or something heartwarming like that.
SPOILER ALERT: black tar melts, returns to the first world, but with a twist, Katie ends up with everything she wants! She’s back with James Franco, opening her new restaurant while still having the acclaim of being a badass chef at Seconds. Hazel now has friends (because I’m sorry in what world would this girl not?!), evil house haunter Katie is now nice and living it up as a spirit in the new restaurant, while Orphan Black is still creeping on Seconds but now has proven her point not to mess with spirits and abuse the mushrooms and has a friend in Katie as well.
Did I like “Seconds?” It was fine. It had moments that I truly did enjoy. The art was lovely and the story was funny and dark at times, but I just couldn’t find anything likeable with Katie. This was also a problem I had with Divergent – Tris…ugh. Again, I disliked how dislikeable the main character was, and maybe that was the point?
Kacie Baum is a professional partier, mother of two pugs, and the wife of Matt Baum. She tolerates the constant presence of the Two-Headed Nerd in her home each week. She did not write this bio. Pre-THN entries of Girl Meets Nerd can be found here.