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One hundred demons
Barry, Lynda
Adult Fiction BARRY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

As anyone who's read her comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek or novel Cruddy knows, Barry has a pitch-perfect sense of the way kids talk and think. Childhood's cruelties and pleasures, remembered in luminous, unsparing detail, have become the central topic of her work. The semi-autobiographical vignettes of this new work, originally serialized in Salon, follow the same basic format as the strip: blocks of enthusiastic first-person commentary at the top of each panel, squiggly, childlike-but stylized-drawings and dizzy word-balloon dialogue between the characters. Here, though, Barry gets a chance to stretch out, drawing out her memories and impressions into long, lively, sometimes sweet and sometimes painful narrative sequences on a seemingly endless list of curiously compelling topics: the scents of people's houses (one is "a combination of mint, tangerines, and library books"), dropping acid at 16 with a grocery bagger, the colors of head lice and the art of domesticating abused shelter dogs. The structure of the book is a drawing exercise that allows a hundred demons to flow out of the artist's pen onto paper. Barry's demons are the personal objects and effects that remind her of the in-between emotional states from her early life. The result is simultaneously poignant and hilarious-never one at the expense of the other-and so are her loopy, sure-lined drawings, which make both the kids and the adults look as awkward and scrunched-up as they feel. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Cartoonist and novelist Barry (The Good Times Are Killing Me) has published several books of comics, notably those featuring the lively young Marlys, the self-proclaimed "#1 groover on life." This oblong (10" x 6") book, featuring comics that first appeared on Salon.com, is her first hardcover collection and her first book in color. It's a series of 17 semi-autobiographical stories about the things from our pasts that haunt us. From "Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend," Barry moves on to the dark side of the hippie dream and moving stories that touch on childhood, adolescence, and loss of innocence. Barry's text-heavy panels fit a lot of story into a few pages, and her childlike drawings seem almost designed to encourage budding artist readers. The title comes from an Asian painting exercise that inspired the book; with any luck, Barry will keep going until she reaches the magic number. Suitable for teens but more highly recommended to adults, who will identify with Barry's air of reminiscence and regret. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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