It seems like ages ago, when the show, Mad Men, aired on television, as it brought back a certain sophistication to the television landscape, reminding everyone that after a certain age, every man should at least have two good suits. Don Draper, certainly had more than two, and had his own indulgences. The show had great acting and great writing going for it, where they not only showed the world the glamorous side of those yesteryears but also gave the world reality of how it was for women and minorities.
The most prominent character who embodied this struggle, was the character played by Elisabeth Moss, Peggy Olson. She was the viewer’s entry into this world and the many rules that governed who climbs the corporate ladder. Each season, showed how any woman in her position, would subvert perceptions, challenge the status quo, and elevate herself because of her talents and not what society expected of her. In Michael Cho’s brilliant Shoplifter, we meet a woman, much like Peggy, with her own set of struggles, who eventually become the hero of her own story.
In the first few pages, we meet Corinne, a millennial, who has found herself stuck in the same job for the past five years, dreaming of a world where she could have used her degree. As, she is no part of the Boys club, like Peggy Olson, she finds her vices in other places, through shoplifting, a local convenience store several times a week. She endures her day to day, through shoplifting ang socializing with her friends after work, until one day, the local shop clerk, confronts her, which makes Corinne take stock on who she is and what she needs to do move forward with her life. By book’s end, Corinne leaves her, at peace, in full breath, ready to go to the next stop in her journey.
Overall, Cho takes the reader on a journey, that feels melancholy at first, but leads to place where the protagonist is the captain of her own destiny. The story by Cho feels like a procedural, but beautifully develops into a coming of age tale. The art by Cho is gorgeous. Altogether, ultimately Cho gives the reader, a protagonist, who is a mixture of Peggy Olson and Don Draper, making her a force of will.
Story: Michael Cho Art: Michael Cho
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy