Slice of life stories are something of a romance of mine, both as a writer and as a reader. When I first came across Scooter Girl I was initially intrigued because of who was behind it. Written by Chynna Clugston-Major, the well-known writer/artist of the Oni Press book Blue Monday, another book I adore, Scooter Girl follows the exploits of Ashton Archer a playboy in his own mind.
The story begins in Ashton’s formative high school years in Northern California and follows him as he rules the local scooter rally scene having his way with every girl he sees. Depending on your perspective you have a definitive opinion on him from the opening scene. You either view him as a hero amongst mortals or as a misogynistic jackass (both based on the same series of events where he finishes having sex with one girl in an alley only to walk up to the next girl he sees whom he takes home and shags as well).
Ashton, as the story goes, comes from a long line of womanizers. From his great, great, great grandfather on down and etcetera. Introduce Margaret Sheldon and her twin brother Drake onto the scene and here is where everything starts to go wrong for Ashton.
Immediately Ashton is seemingly under a spell. The once debonair teenager with the suave nature and poised stature is a ball of clumsiness and awkward moments. He must have her, but he keeps making an ass of himself. It’s a little over the top, truthfully. I get that it’s supposed to represent the most extreme “love-struck” type of situation, but it’s still a bit much, considering you know where the story is going to lead…or do you?
As time goes on Margaret has such an effect on Ashton that his stock at school plummets and after graduation he heads south to set up a new life in the San Diego area. The story then jumps ahead four years and Margaret Sheldon is back in Ashton’s life and immediately he’s the bumbling, stumbling buffoon he was in high school.
Burdened with the realization that Margaret isn’t going to leave and that he doesn’t want to run away again Ashton is forced to deal with her existence…which he fails at, miserably. Maintaining his high school sensibilities he just keeps trying to bag her and uses any means necessary, even befriending her brother in an effort to get in good with her.
The culmination of this off-the-tracks sequence is when Ashton goes to see his grandfather (whom we find out later is more than a little senile) who tells Ashton a wild tale of the “Sheldon Women” whom have ruined the “Archer Men” for hundreds of years all as a result of a curse put on the family by a coven of witches. This conversation leads Ashton to hiring his drug-dealing acquaintance to murder Margaret.
See what I mean?
This obviously doesn’t happen; it’s just not that kind of book. Ashton comes to his senses and through a conversation with said drug dealer comes to realize something about his feelings for Margaret. And this is where the sappiness kicks in at full force. I’ll spoil you the details and won’t ruin the ending of what comes of this love-hate relationship. But there are at definitely a few twists and turns along the way.
Scooter Girl gets a solid B grade from me. From an artistic standpoint it is solid and really aids the overall story. The writing has its moments of sincere depth mixed with a bit too much ridiculousness for my tastes but never truly detracts from the overall quality of the book.
If you have suggestions for future Bin Fodder reviews, drop me a line in comments! Or e-mail me at [email protected].
Check out this week’s Playlist!
Till next Wednesday…
Metric – Twilight Galaxy, Band of Horses – Wicked Girl, Owl City – Cave In, Jukebox the Ghost – Half Crazy, Longwave – Everywhere You Turn, The Distillers – The Hunger, The Editors – Munich, Fun – The Gambler, I Fight Dragons – Heads Up, Hearts Down, Director – Reconnect, Modest Mouse – World at Large, A Newfound Glory – When I Die, The Killers – This is Your Life, Deep Blue Something – Done, Ben Folds – Zak and Sara, Exit – Question the Chorus, Farewell Continental – Radio, Radio: Are You Getting This?, Simon & Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy in New York