Lovers of the graphic memoir rejoice! Mimi Pond's Over Easy is in stores today, and it is getting press all over the place. Mimi has described Over Easy as her magnum opus, and it's easy to see why; Over Easy is a sprawling, jaunty fictionalized memoir about the fast-paced, diner-working life of art student turned dishwasher turned waitress Madge Pond in 1970s California.
After moving to Oakland to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts, Madge is distressed to reach the maximum amount of student aid right before entering her final year of school. Instead of drowning herself in loans, Madge opts to get a different kind of education - as a dishwasher and waitress at the Imperial Cafe (based on real-life diner Mama's Royal Café).
Madge is a funny, relatable protagonist - at times naive, at times brilliant and wry. Pond captures the feeling of working in one of those je ne sais quoi places, the ones that have a certain energy about them you can't help but want to be a part of.
One of my favourite passages explores exactly that feeling: Madge is taking her lunch break on her first day as a dishwasher. She orders a crab sandwich, because "when [she's] working, [she] can order anything from the menu, anything at all, and the cooks have to make it for [her]". She describes the strange feeling of things never being the same again, that she'll "never be just a customer here, ever again".
Full of melodramatic romances that last about 4 pages each and hilariously low-stakes drama, Over Easy is a joyous read all the way through the ups and downs of Madge's experiences. Every character is memorable and lovable, from the Cafe's beloved manager to the regulars (some of whom are the preferred drug dealers of the staff).
The attachment all the staff members of the Imperial Cafe have for each other is palpable, and heart-warming, despite the fact that if it were an actual family, there would be a whole lotta incest goin' on, as the waitresses tend to change boyfriends about once a week.
You do not want to miss out on reading this gem. Mimi Pond has been around forever, and is responsible for writing the very first episode of The Simpsons, among other beloved pop-culture institutions. She's a legend, and it's about time she gets her very own epic memoir. Pick it up. You will love it. That's the D&Q guarantee.
Don't forget, Mimi is currently on tour, so check out the poster above to see if you'll be in the LA, Oakland, Toronto, New York, or San Diego when she is. You won't want to miss it; Mimi is charming and delightful, and sure to wow ya.