One Hundred Demons Hardcover – Aug 2002
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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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Barry uses an Asian painting exercise called "One Hundred Demons" to organize and connect 17 "autobifictionalographic" stories in which she meditates on a variety of demons that include pretentious boyfriends, lost childhood friends, family relationships, and even the 2000 presidential election. The author's keen observation and honesty draw readers to these sometimes painful, often poignant moments. In "Dancing," she explains that almost everyone in her family danced with great pleasure. Then a casually cruel comment from an admired neighbor made her self-conscious enough to stop. "Resilience" explores the mistaken belief of some adults that young children who have experienced a trauma will somehow forget and move past it. Here Barry allows speech balloons to fill in the gaps to which she alludes in her main text, with heart-wrenching effect. A more lighthearted story deals with the unique smells that permeate homes. Most of each story is told in text blocks at the top of the panel, while speech balloons convey specific details and characterizations. Barry's artwork is almost childlike, and the awkwardness of her drawings works well with the emotional tone her tales evoke. In the last few pages, she demonstrates the technique used for the original exercise and encourages readers to draw from their own experiences. This is an amazing collection, and those who connect with it will come away with a deep appreciation for Barry.
Jody Sharp, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I received this book, along with some others I'd ordered at the same time, I picked it up and flipped through it. I started reading the first page and I was hooked. I read this book in one day and although this is not impossible (as it's a comic style book with less text), I have not read a whole book in one day in many years. This book had me hooked from the beginning. I was laughing all the way through, and I loved the drawings as well.
I am very pleased with this book and I have no doubt you'll love it!
Among the many pleasures of the book--Barry's extremely simple yet enormously evocative illustrations, the awesome ear she has for the way children speak to each other, the cheerful colors belying much of the sadness inherent in her work--is the section entitled "Magic." This regards Barry's rejection, at age thirteen, of her two-years-younger best friend. It's easy to tell that even more than thirty years later, Barry feels shame over this episode. She so deftly sketches the psyche of her thirteen-year old self that we are left alternating between complete understanding of her actions and rueful sorrow that she couldn't ignore the age difference.
This is a funky, trippy book that's simultaneously a quick read and something you want to linger over the second (and third, and fourth) time you read it. Long may Lynda Barry rule!
The book also contains awesome collages by Lynda between the strips as well as a foreword explaining the origin of the 100 Demons idea and an afterword describing some of the materials and methods Lynda used in creating the strips.
The strips (as you would expect in a work by Ms. Barry) evoke a wide range of emotions, and cover a lot of territory. Who could read "Common Scents" and NOT remember the smells of their grandmother's house or shuffle uncomfortably at the memory of failed attempts to disguise the smell of cat pee with incense?
OK, maybe you never owned a cat, but you still need the book to read about the Aswang! It could save your life!
I have been reading Lynda's books since I was 15 and now 30 something....I enjoy them as much now as I did then!
Lynda - your the greatest!
Most recent customer reviews
Lots of interesting ideas for illustration and story tellingPublished 6 months ago by Ms. Leona K. Cochrane
This is a good lesson in the cool things that can happen if you let yourself go the direction your mind takes you.Published on Oct. 13 2013 by David Scrimshaw
This is one of my favourite Lynda Barry books, because it's auto biographical stories are so relatable. Read morePublished on March 19 2013 by Ericaveg
This is the Okayest book I have ever Read! More Okay than anything else I have read EVER! Some people should Definately READ THIS BOOK!Published on Dec 12 2003 by Patrick McGee
As Marlys would say: (and the only decent way I can do this book any justice)
SUPER RIGHT ON!
The best book, hands-down, I have read in the past ten years. Read more
I stayed up late into the night to read this book, frequently crying. Lynda Barry has clearly made an effort to be as honest as possible, and as a result, these stories just... Read morePublished on March 5 2003
This book is utterly, totally amazing! Lynda Barry rocks my world! If you are a Lynda Barry fan, whether a Pookster or someone who loved "Cruddy", this book is a... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2003 by Kortney Kropp