Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 15th, 2014 by Drawn and Quarterly
Source: Raincoast Books
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 Café, 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 naïve, 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.
So I didn’t like this novel in the beginning. At all. Mostly because I didn’t like the main character – I thought she was a wimpy and needed to be firmer in her convictions. However, as the novel progressed and the character grew, I began to appreciate the delicate hand with which Pond tackled protagonist’s growth. Margaret, or Madge as her boss likes to call her, finds herself work when she is refused a loan because she has already reached the maximum amount she can receive from the government. She patronizes this diner once and finds herself in love with the ambiance and the people working there? Does she romanticize them? Hell yeah.
But very slowly, she begins to understand them and through them, herself. The people working at the diner are fascinating – actually, all of them are fascinating because the novel is set in the 70s and the mindset of people is portrayed to be completely different compared to today.
Anyway, I, reluctantly enough, enjoyed this novel at the end. The art is fun and wispy and I loved the poetry night they have at the diner near the end – I loved the poems and the crazy poet cook was perhaps my favourite character. I’m not sure this will appeal to everyone but if you like graphic novels and period pieces, you may like this one. Give it a try.