Lost At Sea – Bryan Lee O’Malley

“I have a lot on my mind and not a lot to do so it’s going to come out, all of it, and then, then, it may begin to make a sort of sense.”

Raleigh doesn’t have a soul, a cat stole it, or at least that’s what she tells people – or would if she talked to anyone. Finding herself in a car share on a road trip across, or up depending on which way you look at it, America with three kids she went to school with but barely knows she thinks that it might be a good time to find the cat. Especially as she’s confused about why she’s in the car in the first place, how she got there and where she’s going. 

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I love Scott Pilgrim and I’ve been wanting to check out more of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work for a while now so when this arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago I knew I couldn’t leave it long before reading it. Lost at Sea has the words ‘If you’ve ever been eighteen, or lonely, or both, maybe you should read this book’ on the back and to be perfectly honest, I totally agree. 
The story is completely random, you are thrown into it with Raleigh in a car with three classmates who you can tell straight away she barely knows. Raleigh doesn’t have many friends and these kids just happened to be in the same place at the same time. It’s full of flashes back to past experiences for Raleigh and thats how you come to realise what is important in the story. The panels will suddenly go back to Raleigh in 3rd grade and 6th grade and running around with her old best friend, the only true friend she’s ever had, and it would get confusing if it wasn’t in the graphic novel format that it comes in. You might also think when one of these flashes happen, that it is completely random but you soon find out that it all makes sense, everything mentioned is needed to understand Raleigh and whilst she’s still just as random and strange at the end of the book, you understand more about her. I loved the story and the way everything pieced together but its quite subtle and if you’re not paying close enough attention you may just miss a few things.
The characters were really interesting and I loved that you could tell a lot about them from the few things they say and their stance within the panels. You don’t hear a lot from the boys because everything is quite highly focussed on Raleigh and Stephanie and Stilman but I really liked them and their repartee that they had going on. Stephanie fit in well with them and she was quite defensive when it came to Raleigh but I understood that, a lot. Stilman was a silent character, he didn’t actually appear but a lot of the thoughts running through Raleigh’s mind were about him and their relationship which was worrying to say the least. I didn’t get what was going on between them until close to the end but I think the story between them was an interesting one and shaped Raleigh’s life majorly. 
I loved this book mainly because I connected with it in a huge way. Life at 18 isn’t great whilst you’re living it but this road trip that the four characters share is something that they will probably remember forever and to be honest, without trying to sound like a halmark card, 18 is one of the best times of your life. I loved being 18, my parents left the country and I got to live with just my sister whilst I finished college, for half of it I was with my first proper boyfriend and when it ended it was amicable at least so it wasn’t a disaster and for the second half of it I was enjoying life to the full. At the time 18 was just an age but looking back on it it was probably my best year ever and I loved it and this book reminded me of that. So much changes when you are around that age and Lost At Sea portrays that really really well.  The characters feel like its just another day but a lot happens to Raleigh and like me, she would probably remember everything so clearly when she got older. 
I love the art style of this book and it is alike to that of Scott Pilgrim, if you were a fan of that then this is a must read but if you haven’t read any of these books but enjoy art and graphic novels then they are probably awesome for you too! The main thing that I loved about Lost At Sea was the balance between words and pictures was perfect for me, the pictures added to the text and the text added to the pictures, without one or the other the story would be similar but it was enhanced through the use of the additional format. Some of the snippets of text in this book are brilliant too and I found a fair few lines that I would love to quote, especially those on the very last page. 
Lost At Sea was published in 2005 by Oni Press. My copy was purchased via the Amazon marketplace. 

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  • Ooh, I’m intrigued!

  • I’ve only read the first Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, but I was intrigued enough to want to pick up other graphic novels by same author. This one sounds really good! Perhaps I should put it back onto my wishlist 🙂