20 September 2014

Weekend Cooking: Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

I'm always happy when my love for graphic novels intersects with my love for foodie books. When I heard about Bryan Lee O'Malley's new book, Seconds, I couldn't resist getting a copy.

The title, Seconds, has several meanings in this story about Katie, a restaurant chef who seems to be living her dreams. The restaurant she helped create (called Seconds) has won the "Best Dinner Spot" award three years running, the staff and owners treat her with respect, and the customers love her food. Plus, after scrimping and saving and finding a business partner, Katie is on her way to opening her second restaurant, this time as a chef-owner.

Then one day, everything changes: the renovators at the new building want more money, her business partner is not answering his email, her ex-boyfriend shows up at Seconds, a flirtation with a fellow chef has gone sour, and a waitress suffers a bad burn. If only Katie could start this day over.

Sometimes it's best not to get what one wishes for. When Katie awakes from a dream to discover there is indeed a way to have a revised life, she decides to try it. But soon she becomes desperate to keep trying until everything is perfect, which, of course, can never be. Will she ever get out from under the horrible mess she's made?

Although this book is over 300 pages, I read it in one sitting. I liked Katie and the people in her life, especially Hazel and the young women's developing friendship. The premise is intriguing; who hasn't wished for a second chance to say something different, to make a better choice, to be a stronger person?

The colorful and nicely detailed artwork quickly drew me into the story. The characters' expressions and body language speak volumes, and I particularly like that the panels show a variety of perspectives--sometimes it's as if we were in the same room with Katie and other times we are given a bird's-eye view or see things from a character's perspective. I also like the way the colors change to signal Katie's dream states and the rewinding of the clock as she is about to start a second chance.

The scans of pages 22 and 23 show Katie and Seconds before things begin to go wrong. You can get a sense of Katie's personality and see what she likes to cook. (Click the image to see the scans full size.)

Seconds may not have recipes, but I loved the restaurant setting, following Katie's second chances, and thinking about the consequences of getting what one wishes for.

Random House / Ballantine, 2014
ISBN-13: 9780345529374
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Tina 9/20/14, 6:58 AM  

I don't think I have ever seen a graphic novel with food and restaurants as a subject. Looks intriguing and an easy read for a Saturday afternoon.

I like the photos you added.

jama 9/20/14, 7:15 AM  

Oh, this looks so good! Adding it to my TBR list pronto. Thanks for reviewing it!

rhapsodyinbooks 9/20/14, 7:25 AM  

I also love foodie graphic novels - in fact, the Moosewood Cookbook sort of feels like that to me.

Laurie C 9/20/14, 8:20 AM  

Sounds like fun! I'd have to adjust to the fact that Katie looks to be about 10 years old, though! ;)

bermudaonion 9/20/14, 8:25 AM  

I read his Scott Pilgrim books at Vance's insistence and they were a little too fantastical for me so I'd kind of written him off. This, however, sounds like my kind of graphic novel.

Trish 9/20/14, 10:03 AM  

Sounds like a lot of fun! Though it's too bad there aren't just a few recipes included. ;)

Katherine P 9/20/14, 10:55 AM  

I'm not a huge lover of graphic novels but this one sounds really fun! I'm definitely going to have to look for this one.

I accidentally put an incomplete link as #4. So sorry! I guess that'll teach me to try to do too much on my phone.

Esme 9/20/14, 12:16 PM  

I am not the biggest fan of graphic books-this sounds like fun.

Carole 9/20/14, 4:31 PM  

So great to hear about this book. Have just ordered it up from the library. Cheers

Linda 9/20/14, 5:48 PM  

I enjoyed his Scott Pilgrim series so I'll pick this one up sometime too.

Peaceful Reader 9/21/14, 12:03 AM  

As of yet I am not a graphic novel fan except for Babymouse by Jennifer Holm. This one does look fun though and maybe it would encourage my hubby to cook more as he loves GN's.

Jackie Mc Guinness 9/21/14, 10:56 AM  

I'm not a fan of GNs either, but the story sounds intriguing.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 9/21/14, 12:41 PM  

Sounds fun! I planned on participating this week but being out of town with no internet took care of that. Next week then :)

Cecelia 9/21/14, 4:00 PM  

I love the combination of food & graphic novels, too! This looks like a solid read.

Melynda Brown 9/23/14, 10:38 PM  

Graphic Novels are always bright and fun. I think they will show up in more and more genres, who doesn't like fun and reading together?

SuziQoregon 9/24/14, 3:29 PM  

I think I'm going to have to read this one.

Couscous & Consciousness 9/28/14, 2:08 AM  

What a cool looking book, and what a great premise for a story. Adding this to my "must read" list.

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