Yes, and yes! I really couldn't put it better than that blurb from the back of the book.
During the past few months I have had the immense pleasure of reading O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels. This one is an earlier work, and it is more introspective and packs a hefty emotional punch. It also contains the wonderful humor and quirkiness of the Scott Pilgrim series, but is slightly more grounded in reality.
Raleigh is an eighteen-year-old who is on a car trip with three students from her school. She narrates much of the story, sharing her thoughts and feelings with us, often addressing the reader in the second person. Raleigh has been through some sort of emotionally-charged experience, and she isn't quite ready to talk about it yet. So we get bits and pieces as we travel along on her road trip, and slowly, like a the lens of a camera gradually bringing an image into focus, we begin to understand what has happened. Mostly. I had a few questions at the end, but they were good ones, interesting things to ponder and interpret.O'Malley skillfully captures that sense of isolation that so many of us feel in our teen years, that feeling of being adrift, of not connecting, of having our lives spread out before us but feeling unable to focus sufficiently to see where we are actually going. Or where we want - or need - to go. The artwork accompanies the text beautifully, alternating from dreamlike to whimsical to poignant.
Many thanks to the reviewers below, all of whom teamed up and made me realize that this was a book I absolutely had to read. They were right (but that's certainly not surprising). I'd especially recommend Lost at Sea to those who aren't so sure about this whole graphic novel thing but are thinking of giving one a try and aren't sure where to start, as well as to those who enjoy a not-so-linear story that is thought provoking, not to mention slightly ambiguous. This would be a great choice for a book discussion group, too, as it leaves readers with much to ponder and discuss.
Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press, 2005)
Also reviewed at:
A Book a Week: "...O'Malley has managed to capture that terrifying, confusing, painful, yet unique, tender, and beautiful feeling of growing up and being somewhere between a kid and an adult."
The Book Zombie: "I think that this book carries such a powerful message, that is, no matter how confused or lost we may feel, odds are that the people around us are feeling the same way."
Stuff as Dreams Are Made On: "Of course we all know that we’re not alone in the world, but that’s easy to forget sometimes. When someone else can capture an experience that’s universal, yet so personal like this, it can really make a difference"
Things Mean a Lot: "Lost at Sea is such a lovely book. It’s tender, sad in a quiet sort of way, and occasionally very funny."