Next-in-Reading

Next-in-Reading #25: Seconds

Next In ReadingTitle: Seconds
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Year: 2014
Publisher: Ballatine Books

“All this having her cake and eating it to and also not having her cake and never eating it was… confusing?”

Sick and tired of making mistakes that have caused her to remain stagnant in life, Katie chances upon the House Spirit, and a second chance – write your mistake on a piece of paper, ingest a house mushroom, and go to bed before she wakes up with a fresh start, as if the mistake did not happen at all. However, things start to go awry when she starts abusing these mushrooms and starts to run out of second chances.

Character(s)

Katie, Perfectionist of Diminishing Returns

She is the personification of a highly-driven creative who has probably driven herself to the point of creative frustration. Impatient for her new restaurant to open quickly, Katie ends up inserting herself into any nook and cranny of her current restaurant, appearing self-centered and overbearing. It also shows when she ignores the workings of the House Spirit, going on her own way to make her own life easier despite already being given a second chance.

However, one can credit Katie to be quite sentimental and sensitive to important matters in her life – Max, Hazel, the restaurant – these aspects and people play a huge role in her life, resulting in Katie wanting everything to be perfect for her and them. Upon realising that her abuse of the second chances was fragmenting her very being and her relationships with her friends, she ends up sacrificing her own needs for what she really needed – the chance to face her life, consequences and all, and carry on.

Theme(s)

Consequence

The misconception which many tend to have is the equation of a second chance to inconsequence. With a second chance and dozens more, Katie swears to preserve her second chances, only to end up abusing them for almost everything she felt was going wrong in her life. The irony of the entire situation was that while things changed according what she generally wanted, she ended up confused and clueless on the timeframe she ended up in. While she was looking to go past her mistakes without consequence, she ended up erasing her mistakes, but with consequences she was not prepared for.

Style & Structure

Apart from the fact that Seconds was presented as a graphic novel, the story was as split as the many universes within it – the main story, and the many revisions of Katie’s life that go through her head as she goes to sleep. It not only represents how life can be as confusing or as linear as we make it out to be, but also the fragmented thoughts which can jump across the different plains of “What Ifs”.

In the meantime…

So that’s it for now, stay tuned for another book as I see you next week!Blanket Fortress Logo

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