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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2006
I came to Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost at Sea after reading his two other books (Volumes One & Two of the Scott Pilgrim series) and thus, am of two minds about Lost at Sea. This is a very different book in both tone and humour than Scott Pilgrim. It's more somber, the art and feel are less stylized, the main character is prone to multiple page internal monologues about her feelings. In light of the Scott Pilgrim series it is easy to see that Lost at Sea came first. It is obviously an early work.

This does not make it bad.

Lost at Sea is about a girl (Raleigh) whose soul may or may not have been stolen by a cat, going home to her mother with friends that she doesn't even know. It is a story about self-discovery, about finding both yourself and the rest of the world all at the same time. At times heartbreakingly earnest, at times lightly comic it is a 160 page exercise in raw emotion. It would be wrong to dismiss Lost at Sea as cliched, to look at it's basic premise (girl finds herself and her friends on road trip home) and make assumptions about what it has to say and, more importantly, how it says it. O'Malley is an excellent writer, and he handles the obvious moments in Lost at Sea without a wink or nudge, he doesn't make these characters a joke to the reader, he honestly portrays their feelings in the way that they feel them. And that is the best part about Lost at Sea, when you're 18 and lost you think you're the only one and O'Malley write Raleigh as though she is.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2014
One of my very favorite pieces of the human cultural fabric. Beautiful story, beautiful art. Bryan Lee O'Malley is the king of pies, in my book. A real delight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 8, 2010
If you've read Scott Pilgrim, I recommend that you leave all of your preconceived notions about O'Malley at the door before you read this book. Other than the artwork, this book is nothing like that series. If you're expecting some cutesy book, you're in the wrong place.

Lost at Sea follows the character of Raleigh, an overly timid young teen who is completely at a loss as to who she is. She claims to have no soul, a result of certain actions occurring in her youth. Raleigh finds herself on a car trip with three of her classmates at her school, unsure as to how to interact with them. But as the miles pass by, Raleigh will find herself opening up to her fellow passengers about herself, her doubts & her life.

I really loved this book. I'll admit, it was a bit slow to get into, but it really was a fantastic read. The artwork is all wonderful, which is something I've come to expect from O'Malley throughout the years. I loved how some of the most serious issues in the book- most notably the one major reason why Raleigh is the way she is- are all done subtly. It's up to the reader as to whether or not they pick up on the smaller details. If you aren't careful, you'll miss an entire element of the book that'll take the story to a whole new level.

I would honestly recommend this to anyone who loves a good indie comic. Again, I'll warn the Scott Pilgrim fans that this is a very serious book, so if you are looking for laughs & cute stuff, you may want to pass this one by. I hope you give it a real chance, as this truly is a book worth reading & sharing with your friends. One thing I'll add to this review is that if you like his work, you should also check out his work in the Hopeless-Savages series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Four college age kids are driving back home for the holidays. Three of them are good friends while the fourth, the girl and main character of the story Raleigh, is a casual acquaintance. It becomes clear from her silence that Raleigh is a troubled girl and as the journey goes on they begin to discover that Raleigh's silence is due to a broken heart from a recently ended relationship.

This is the first book I've read of Bryan Lee O'Malley and I'll say it's not bad. While the drawings are alright at best (manga heavy with few individual touches to distinguish it from other manga art), the story is at times compelling and other times cliche. The overall story of Raleigh and her internal monologue is ok, but her surreal search for a soul lends the story itself an element of intrigue.

However if you look at the rest of the book you see how cliche the rest of it is. Teen sarcasm spots the script like acne, while overly precious emo moments like waking up in the middle of the night and saying "we've got to look for my soul - I think it's in a cat" make for cringe-worthy moments. Imagine if someone did that to you - I think I'd tell them to shut up and go back to sleep. Of course that wouldn't lend itself well to the story so the four wake up and wander the town in the middle of the night trying to catch cats. Ergh.

It's these moments of unbelievably twee actions that let down the book. That and the fact that the story is centred around a broken heart. Remember that sketch from "Family Guy" where they satirise teen dramas? "Nothing in your life will ever be more important than what's going on right here, right now, by this locker!" - "High school is such a serious thing... these problems matter!". It's like that. You want to tell Raleigh that hey a broken heart sucks and first love is both euphoric and shattering but you get over it. Overall it's not that important and sooner rather than later you'll look back and wonder what the hell it was all about.

"Lost at Sea" is an alright book that feels at times too much like a cartoon version of "Dawson's Creek". Two of the four characters never become more than cyphers while the remaining two have their moments but ultimately feel shallow and their actions contrived. Not a terrible book but not good enough to make me want to read more from O'Malley.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2014
Don't get me wrong, I love this book; it is inspiring, clever, and tells a unique story. Due to the rereleases of the Scott Pilgrim series, I expected this book to be in full color as well, which is why I purchased it. Yet the entire book is in blue or red shades rather than bright and vivid colors like the Scott Pilgrim hardcovers.The hardcover is nice and the back contains additional content, but believe me, if you already own the paperback, black and white version of this book, don't bother. Yet if you want to check this book out because you never read it, and the price difference is only a few bucks, go ahead, but it's not a big difference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2014
Back when I was in grad school, if you were trying to write a paper and just spitballing ideas, a professor would ask you ”So what?” Basically, they wanted you to justify what you were trying to create. I hate to be overly critical, but I don’t think O’Malley really answers that with this finding-yourself road trip meditation. It was passable, but ethereal, a snowflake on my consciousness that has since passed. There is a passage near the end, the character is narrating the rest of the trip, and she says “Generally the rest of the story was probably more interesting if you were there and the jokes seemed funnier at the time.” I think this is true of the whole endeavor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2015
Being a fan of Scott Pilgrim, i picked this up as a blind buy, and while i wasn't disappointed, it wasn't great either.

The story is essentially a look into a teenagers mind, with all the confusion, angst and heartbreak realistically realized. It does a great job at putting you in Raleigh's shoes, as the book unfolds much like her thoughts, jumbled up without much clarity. Some may find this structure to be annoying though, as there really isnt much plot to begin with. Thankfully, the art and visual storytelling does a good job at keeping things interesting, and the dialogue fits perfectly for the story it wants to tell.

The problem for me was that the book is just a look into a teenagers life, during the point where you feel lost and unaware of what to do with your life. Nothing more, nothing less.

I did enjoy how relatable Raleigh was, some might find the angst to be too much to take but it was heartfelt without being obnoxious for me. It captures the period of teenage confusion well, but doesnt do much with it, or has anything to say, which you can argue is much like Raleigh herself. The ending also comes rushed as the third act suddenly spins the plotless story into a final revelation that isnt much of a surprise.

Overall i would say this is a decent read if you can take some teenage angst, and want a more laid back character drama. The art is well drawn and the shades of pink in the color design add to the mood of the story. I just wish the story had more character development.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2005
For every yin, there is a yang. For every left, a right. For every Sonny, a Cher. And for every Scott Pilgrim, there is a Raleigh. Whereas Bryan Lee O'Malley's Proustian epic 'Scott Pilgrim' features a protagonist who dives headfirst into every situation with all the overblown confidence of youth, Raleigh (the main character in 'Lost at Sea') suffers silently, waylaid by her own doubts and insecurities. O'Malley's penchant for taking a straightforward narrative idea - in this case, the good old-fashioned road trip story - and subverting it to a point of almost unrecognisability is clearly evident in this, the author's first graphic novel. The road trip itself fades into the background, as Raleigh struggles with her inability to communicate with her travelling companions. Their trip is punctuated not by tourist destinations but by the visions of cats which follow Raleigh on her journey. Raleigh's mother sold her daughter's soul to these cats in exchange for her mother's personal success, so these cats become, by extension, responsible for the young girl's failure - her failure to connect. Through an internal monologue spoken to an unknown 'you', the wide-eyed Raleigh addresses - albeit obliquely - the sorrow of puberty, the yearning for acceptance, the fear of derision.

It's a brilliant book, full of genuine understanding and pathos and told with an artist's eye for detail. And hey, it's got cute cartoon cats in it - what could be better than that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2011
"Lost At Sea" is easily the best work from the "coming-of-age" genre that I have ever read. The story follows eighteen year old Raleigh as she embarks on a road trip from California to her hometown in Vancouver. During this time, she laments over her past with memories of her new boyfriend, Stillman, her former best friend, her parents, and the notion that she has no soul, which she thinks was sold to the Devil by her mother when she was 14 (she also believes that her soul was implanted into a cat). The novel explores the the "clumsiness, isolation, and aimlessness of adolescence" (as described by Craig Thompson, creator of "Blankets"), captured in Bryan O'Malley's amazing dialogue and fantastic artwork. The story is very beautiful and expressive with sort of an "avant-garde" feel, compiled with an "almost anime" style of artwork that perfectly fits it's "coming-of-age" genre. Overall, a perfect score of ten out of ten!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
All I can really say about this book is that it's possibly the best thing I've ever read.
But let's get into some more detail. First off is the art, which is, to say the least, supurb. I never felt as if it was too bland or too artsy, it falls right into a nice little place of near perfection.
But enough of that, let's talk about the story itself. The story stars Raleigh, a confused eighteen year old girl who finds herself on a road trip with three of her classmates who she doesn't even know. What follows is a story of confusion, discovery, love, friendship, and more.
With awesome art and an excellent story, I highly recomend Lost At Sea.
Note: It is VERY vulgar, so don't get this if you hate vulgarity.
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