The series of Scott Pilgrim books by Bryan Lee O’Malley are some of my teenage daughter’s favourite reads. I have never read them, as graphic novels tend not to be my cup of tea. My eight year old son however, who is mad about graphic novels, and is steadily consuming Tin Tin and Asterix at an astounding rate of knots, asked me if he could read Scott Pilgrim because it looked great.
Having some experience of the differences between graphic novels and cartoon strip books, I very firmly said no until I had had a chance to vet one of the books to make sure it was appropriate.
As it happens, I am not happy for him to read them yet. I read the first in the series, called: ‘Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life’, and Oscar is just not grown up enough for it yet. I’d recommend it for teens though.
Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year old from Toronto, who lives with his gay flatmate who he shares a bed with, only because they can’t afford two beds. As the novel opens, Scott is back in the dating game, with a high school girl (aged 17) called Knives Chau.
All Scott’s friends take the rise out of him for dating a school girl, but Scott says that she is ‘safe’. He has been badly burned by a disastrous previous relationship and says he wants someone who is unthreatening.
This is all turned on its head when he meets the enigmatic Ramona Flowers, who zips through his dreams on her roller blades and who then actually turns out to be real. Ramona and Scott have an instant connection which bodes badly for his relationship with knives, and worse for Scott, as he is compelled in computer game style format, to fight every one of Ramonas seven ex lovers, all evil.
The first book ends as Scott defeats evil lover number one…
I enjoyed this more than I expected to, which is not at all. I may even be tempted to read on. I totally understand why my daughter loves these. Ramona Flowers is such an excellent heroine. I know I’d have wanted to be her had I read these in my teens.
In terms of age appropriateness. There is a lot of discussion of sex, but nothing graphic, and no pictures as yet. I can’t say how the other volumes unfold though, so I would generally avoid giving these to the under thirteens just in case, or unless you’re incredibly liberal.