Thursday, July 10, 2014

Over Easy by Mimi Pond

In 1978, Mimi Pond quit art school and began working in an Oakland diner with a wild bunch of coworkers and a varied mix of customers. Perfect fodder for entertaining anecdotes. Over Easy is Pond's fictionalized comics memoir about that time.

Not only is Pond an observant chronicler of human interactions, but her art really captures that moment in California history: the tail end of the hippie era and the start of hipster and punk. Lots of drugs. Lots of sex. Out and proud queers. An exciting time to come of age.

Lazlo Merengue is the manager at the Imperial Cafe. He has a welcoming laugh and everyone likes him. When Margaret (Pond's first-person narrator) asks him for a job, he says, "Tell me a joke. Or a dream. If I like it, I hire you. That's the way it works. That's our policy."

Lazlo: "Promise your old mother you'll never do drugs.
Besides coke and pot and crank, I mean."
In the seventies, while I was in high school, I worked at a pizza restaurant run by three randy Greeks who were also the cooks. Over Easy transported me right back to that time.

When another waitress is dating a guy who brags outrageously, Margaret asks herself: "Aren't liars just storytellers who hate themselves?" Pond isn't that kind of storyteller. Her tale is warm and honest and funny.

Check out Mimi Pond's website too.

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