The Charm of Seconds
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds puts you head first into the weirdly repetitive everyday life of Katie Clay. The book mainly takes place in Katie’s undoubtedly aesthetically beautiful restaurant called Seconds, where in which the idea of second takes and second chances are heavily emphasized. You can now probably see where the title came from. It’s a solid and quick read, but most importantly it’s a great experience for everyone.
O’Malley had big shoes to fill following his massive hit in Scott Pilgrim, and he delivered on that with Seconds. I would recommend Seconds to anyone who’s interested and to anyone who has an appreciation for good art and storytelling. It is a very charming and lighthearted book, and it will definitely be a good read for anyone who decides to pick the book up. I would give it a legitimate 9 stars out of 10 and here’s why.
Seconds’ plot pretty much follows the plot of any other time travel-centered story, the Butterfly Effect and all that, but the catch here is that Katie doesn’t actually do any time-travelling. The book starts during Katie’s mid-life crisis. She’s unhappy and unsure of her place in the world, like most of us here in the real world, and she’s risking so much in starting a second restaurant to change her life. Little does she know that she’s a notebook, a mushroom, and a pen away from changing absolutely everything.
A mysteriously fashionable house spirit gives Katie the power to right her wrongs by way of eating a mushroom, rewriting and revising past events, and sleeping it out. Obviously any mushroom of this kind, if allowed to exist in the real world, would be banned in all states, cities, and countries in all continents, because after all, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and a time-bending mushroom is pretty much absolute power.
This in turn initiates the rollercoaster ride of Katie’s life, in which we as readers have a front seat. With each revision she makes, she jumps to a new reality where that revision was effected. She jumps from one alternate reality to another, constantly fixing mistakes, unknowingly making bigger holes while trying to mend the smaller ones. Ultimately, messing with the universe will catch up with anyone and everyone, including a person high on mushrooms, initiate crisis within a midlife crisis.
The story is interesting and entertaining until the end, with plot twists and turns that’ll keep you engaged. It’s a fluid tale told extremely well, as it reads more like a short film than an actual book mainly because of its great pacing of events that’s keep your eyes glued to the story. Seconds is fun—and that’s all it really needs to be —and it delivers.
What truly makes Seconds stand out among other works of fiction is its charm. Everything from the art to the characters and to the setting, Seconds has that charm which makes it special.
The art here is fantastic and adorable, and it fits with the story’s tone and characters perfectly. The colors are bright and lively when the scenes are lighthearted, and dark and devoid when the scenes are heavy; it actually feels as though the art is a character in the story all on its own. Bryan O’Malley manages to give motion to the book with his great use of panels. With his use of art, he actually makes the book feel alive.
The setting and characters of Seconds give the story its depth. The characters are likable, some even relatable, and they don’t feel like just some other background pieces even though they totally are. Katie’s relationships with the different people in her life like Max, Hazel, and Andrew are all given their times to shine, and that’s awesome. The setting is adorable and actually gets familiar after a while, yet another character of its own.
It’s the charm of Seconds that make it transcend from a good book to a beautiful one. It is its charm that even though it’s a quick one to two hour read, it sticks with you for days and weeks. The charm, brought by the art and the life it gives the comic, is what makes you go back to the book for a third or fourth read. I recommend anyone interested to go out of your house and buy Seconds now, because it really is worth the time.
If you don’t trust me, trust its charm.