Friday Staff Pick: Over Easy

Over Easy
Mimi Pond

“Kiss my Grits,” Flo’s ready response to the obnoxious cook on the sitcom “Alice” pales in comparison to the comebacks, digs, dives, and general banter at Oakland’s incestuous and enigmatic Imperial Cafe, circa 1978. Mimi Pond recalls and draws a memorable cast of characters who you hope might presently be found working at the cafe, still open for business today. (Stacey)

A fantastic coming of age tale told in graphic novel form that’s somehow charming and hilarious whilst depicting an art school drop out finding a new life behind the counter of an Oakland diner, and casting off the relics of the hippie age for the new punk dawn of 1978. (Layla)

—Recommended by Layla and Stacey, City Lights Books

A fast-paced semi-memoir about diners, drugs, and California in the 1970s

Over Easy is a brilliant portrayal of a familiar coming-of-age story. After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straightlaced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Café, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced artistic ambitions, sexual confusion, dependencies, and addictions.

Over Easy 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 who grows from a naïve, sexually inexperienced art-school dropout into a self-aware, self-confident artist. Mimi Pond’s chatty, slyly observant anecdotes create a compelling portrait of a distinct moment in time. Over Easy is an immediate, limber, and precise semi-memoir narrated with an eye for the humor in every situation.

“As funny and warm-hearted as a memoir about a bunch of punks, drug dealers, hippies, and art school dropouts screwing in the 1970s can get. Mimi Pond’s coming-of-age graphic novel, Over Easy, is a delicious charmer.” —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins

“Mimi Pond’s hilarious, sassy wit and skillful illustrations in Over Easy served me a delicious slice of life of 1970s California with a side of brainy observations! I laughed out loud and enjoyed every last bite of it!!”—Charlotte Caffey “Funny, rich and with a clear affection for its cast of kooky characters, this book is alive with the gritty promise of youth.”—Wendy Lawless, author of Chanel Bonfire

“I loved this book. In fact I loved it so much that I was totally going to buy it for you for your birthday. But I don’t think you should wait that long for the chance to be teleported via Mimi Pond’s astonishing x-ray vision into a carefully detailed moment from her own past when hippies were turning into punk rockers and she was an art student turning in to a waitress in a diner full of hilarious characters. In addition to being a great cartoonist, she’s a great observer of life and a great story teller.”—Merrill Markoe, author of Cool, Calm, and Contentious

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