After reading Shutterbug Follies, I jumped into Jason Little’s second Bee book, Motel Art Improvement Service. The book has an interesting hook of a character altering paintings in motel rooms, and carries on the fun noir trappings of the previous volume. There’s a greater focus on relationships in the second book and the characters are weirder and more entertaining. Motel Art Improvement Service works very well as a self-contained story and showcases Jason’s excellent art and pacing. Taken together, the two books frame a strong coming of age narrative of a relatable, flawed protagonist.
Eighteen–year–old Bee has finally saved up enough to embark on her long–planned cross–country bicycle trip. However, she doesn’t make it very far before disaster leaves her stranded at a motel. Her hormones surge when she meets a misunderstood young artist on a mission to “upgrade” the banal “artwork” that hangs on the walls of every motel room. Taking a job there as a housekeeper, Bee snoops around in the motel’s dirty laundry and finds herself entangled in a scary drug deal gone dangerously wrong.
Featuring gorgeous artwork balancing grit with cuteness, Motel Art Improvement Service explores crime, young love, and the purpose of art, in a story that’s equal parts thrilling, funny, and sexy!