|On the long road of
summer, the library is a gas station where you fill the tank, buy some candy
bars, and stir cream and sugar into your burnt coffee before snapping on
the lid, refreshed for the trip ahead. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.
In actuality, it is books, not gasoline, caffeine, and junk food which you
find at the library. -ed.)
Sarah and I were sitting in the reading room of
Fremont branch, perusing the casual assormtent we'd half-randomly pulled
(yes, comics in the library--dog bless Seattle!), silkscreening techniques,
when by chance I looked up and saw the black spine with puke yellow lettering,
ALL CAPS that looked as if they'd been dipped in blood:
I'd been reading
Marlys! and caught
an interview with its creator in an old
Comics Journal Anne had
brought home as part of her research for the double-sized anniversay issue
she was preparing, so I knew Lynda Barry wrote novels, too. The first was
Good Times Are Killing Me.
is number two.
out that once your mind gets expanded it is very hard to shrink it back down
Sarah read it first. She said it
beat Bukowski. Hard to believe. But now that I'm halfway through it, I have
to agree. I've been really down on fiction lately, favoring straight history
and Buk's thinly veiled memoirs, but now I'm hooked on
What can I tell you about it? Why should I tell you anything? It is the 300-page
suicide note of a teenage girl who has seen and done things. It is the story
Dolores Hayes, the title character of
might have told had she been given a voice of her own and Nabokov had had
the guts, ear, and experience to faithfully render the American idiom.
I don't know, maybe I should just fabricate some dust jacket blurbs, because
the ones on this edition (even the one from Barry's longtime friend and
Groening) don't give an inkling as to what one can expect to find
casual cruelties are understandable, perhaps even necessary, being as they
are the natural extensions of his two-fold conditioning--meat and the
"Road movie meets driver's ed scare film in a funny
story of drugs, death, and destruction."~Blood
"A coming of age tale for the A-bomb generation. Should
replace Catcher in the Rye as required reading in every American high
school."~The Brave Librarian
"I hate this book! It portrays Americans as greedy,
demented, rapacious, and immoral. You and I know this is not true. I don't
belive in censorship, but this book deserves to be
|Well, you know, whatever.
Something like that. When I commented to Anne about the irrelevance of the
blurbs, she suggested that it's because no one wants to associate Lynda Barry,
creator of the cuddly (though often quietly disturbing)
Pook's Comeek, with Evil. I asked, "Does expressing those ideas make
one a conduit for Evil?" Anne said yes.
you suppose that's true? And am I, now, by extension, Evil for recommending