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One Hundred Demons [Hardcover]

Lynda Barry
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2002 Alex Awards (Awards)
Buddhism teaches that each person must overcome 100 demons in a lifetime. In One Hundred Demons, a collection of 20 autobiographical comic strip stories from Salon’s popular "Mothers Who Think" section, Lynda Barry wrestles with some of hers in her signature quirky, irrepressible voice. From "Dancing" and "Hate" to "Dogs" and "Magic," the tales included here are at once hilarious and heartbreaking. As she delves into the delights and sorrows of adolescence, family, identity, and love, Barry’s ear for dialogue, dead-on delivery, and painterly style showcase her considerable genius.

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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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Lynda Barry's usually awesome, trippy stuff July 24 2003
Lynda Barry's "One! Hundred! Demons!" is just another astonishingly wonderful book in a long line of astonishingly wonderful books. Using Japanese inks and brushes, she categorizes the demons of her childhood. We see everything from resilience to hate to common scents, from magic to "girlness" to dogs to cicadas.
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down Feb. 22 2009
This was my first Lynda Barry book. I loved the cover of the book - the art style caught my attention. I read the reviews and decided to buy it on a whim, really.

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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars All in color with an Aswang too!! Sept. 16 2002
By A Customer
It's Lynda Barry's first all-color book and it's beautiful, collecting the fantastic water-colored 100 Demons stories that originally appeared on ... but that's not all!
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Barry's best yet! Aug. 22 2002
This "autobifictionalography" collects Barry's brilliant salon.com sketches of the demons we all face in our lives. It is exactly that universality that makes for magical reading. The intense specificity of childhood's horrors made me feel like I was reading my own life, not Barry's. Barry's artistry is in telling and illustrating these stories with incredible humor as well as unlimited heart. Particularly haunting of the eighteen stories are the lost friendship in "Magic" and "Resilience" which gives the lie to adult fantsies of childhood innocence. It's increasingly clear that Lynda Barry is our finest writer of the emotional lives of damaged children. She gives voice to kids that few people ever listened to. Having been one of those kids, it's an amazing feeling to realize that you are understood and you were not alone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ahh...pure genious! Dec 27 2002
By Ryan
I have been a fan of Lynda Barry for years and was thrilled to get her One Hundred Deamons as a gift this Christmas. Her humour reminds me of watching Steel Magnolias. You have never laughed so hard while reading something so touching. This book makes me think I understand her character a bit more - and the fact that I am drawn into wanting to understand a cartoon character says something in and of itself. I still think of some of her comics from previous books and laugh out loud, and this book has given me more memories that put a smile on my face and an embarassing outburst of laughter when it is not especially convenient....
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book. You must read this book. Sept. 20 2002
By A Customer
Where did Lynda Barry come from?!!? Her early cartoons were great, sometimes inspired. Then came The Good Times are Killing Me and Cruddy, two extraordinary novels. With One Hundred Demons, Lynda Barry seems to have grown into a new level of inspired storytelling that ignores conventional boundaries and establishes its own self-contained universe of emotion and thought, image and word. As a result, this is great art -- not fiction, not autobiography, not painting -- this is GREAT ART that reaches inside you and messes with you on many levels. Mundane details illuminate huge ideas and cultural archetypes. Forget the details -- just get it and read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous artwork, heartbreaking stories. Aug. 26 2002
By A Customer
Beautiful collages and artwork bookend each of the 20 color featured stories (most of which appear currently on [...] and are recently written) that detail a semi-maybe-autobiographical Lynda's life, memories and emotions in ways that can make you recall, if you were a misfit growing up, exact memories of that experience, and the subtle ways it follows you into adulthood. The honesty and intelligence of her art and writing is, as usual, spot on, and always evolving-- she's not afraid to try a new voice, character, or medium, and this new collection shows that clearly.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
This is a good lesson in the cool things that can happen if you let yourself go the direction your mind takes you.
Published 12 months ago by David Scrimshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars poignant and beautifully crafted
This is one of my favourite Lynda Barry books, because it's auto biographical stories are so relatable. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ericaveg
3.0 out of 5 stars Holy Cow! This is the okayest book ever written!
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book that should be a mandatory read - everywhere!
As Marlys would say: (and the only decent way I can do this book any justice)
The best book, hands-down, I have read in the past ten years. Read more
Published on March 17 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
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 more
Published on March 5 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Lynda Barry -- Goddess of All That Is Cool!
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 more
Published on Feb. 26 2003 by Kortney Kropp
5.0 out of 5 stars I dug the demons! I had so much fun! Pass it on!
"Lost. Somewhere around puberty. Ability to make up stories. Happiness depends on it."
"Found again. Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Barry brilliant collection of seventeen "demons."
I hate to give "One Hundred Demons" four stars, especially in the light of its five-star artwork, but there is simply too much hippie adulation here, to say nothing of very boring... Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2002 by Lee Hartsfeld
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