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The Customer is Always Wrong
by Mimi Pond
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adult graphic fiction (1970s Oakland - lots of drug addiction, drug addiction; some violence and broken hearts)
This is the sequel to Pond's semi-memoir graphic novel [b:Over Easy|18490689|Over Easy|Mimi Pond|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1383353018l/18490689._SX50_.jpg|26174409], and here Madge continues her journey towards becoming a cartoonist while getting increasingly involved in the lives and problems of her co-workers. Most everyone in here is a drug user and several are addicts/dealers, and things get very messy. I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight, since they weren't introduced at all, so I would probably advise reading the first book first, but even so there was so much happening to pull you through the story and it still works as a stand-alone.
Diversity notes: lots of incidental diversity in ethnicity and some on the LGBTQAI spectrum, but since most of the characters were not depicted in a very flattering way (as I've said, everyone is basically an addict, and in the drug-dealing world there is often violence), I can't say that this is a positive depiction of diversity, but at least at the end her co-workers do show a lot of humanity--they have been her friends and family after all, though she didn't really know some of them all that well.
LAZLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything seemed to have gotten quite a bit darker with our Imperial dysfunctional family. Mimi Pond certainly got some jaw-dropping stories out of her time there...I wonder if there will be a third memoir and if it will keep up the same tone and pace
I'm afraid Mimi Pond has made an error in judgement here. In her previous book "Over Easy" she knew she was the most interesting character in her memoir of working at a weird, grungy diner in late 1970s Oakland. Here, in its sequel, she puts herself in the background observing the shennanigans of her co-workers, friends and neighbors. They are significantly less interesting than her so we spend most of this book wishing its narrator would stop paying them so much ind.
This book is borderline two stars for me because well over half its pages spend way too much time on a series of vignettes centered around who is having sex with whom and who is dealing and using drugs in the small group of cafe workers and regulars. Since I really couldn't recall much from the first book, I didn't have a clue who most of these people were and could not care. But slogging through all that paid off as late in the book Pond's fictionalized self gets involved in a quest with her cafe manager that finally lends some focus to the story and leads to some dark turns that deliver some dramatic weight.
"This is a continuation of Mimi Pond's book Over Easy, a memoir of her time working amongst the hippies and punks of the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking Imperial Cafâe. Pond's story is equal parts time capsule of late 1970s life in California - with its deadheads, punks, disco rollers, casual sex and drug use - and bildungsroman of a young woman from na?ive, sexually inexperienced art-school dropout to self-aware, self-confident artist. Mimi Pond's chatty, slyly observant anecdotes create a compelling portrait of a distinct moment in time."--
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)741.5 â€”Â The arts Graphic arts and decorative arts Drawing & drawings Cartoons, Caricatures, Comics
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This is very much a story of a young person who is just about to find herself. After a romantic breakup, she submits some of her cartoons to various magazines in New York and to her surprise, three are picked for publication. Now she knows that it is in her destiny to move to New York and follow her dream. Of course the people around her have their own dramas and concerns and making that decision to move on isnâ€™t easy. It doesnâ€™t help that just as her life appears to be advancing, many of her friends are stuck in the sameness of their lives, and succumb to addiction and alcoholism.
Both the drawings and the narrative are stylish and straight to the point as this young woman ponders her future and makes the decision to advance her life and career. The book reminds us how we all remember a certain place at a certain time in our past when we needed to make major life decisions in order to grow. There are some dark moments, but the author knows how to use humor to advance this story that excellently captures the melodrama of moving on and leaving people and places behind. ( )