Pin It

Book Review -One Hundred Demons 

by Sheri Boggs

I first discovered Lynda Barry in some doomed offshoot of Ms. magazine for young women and can safely say I've been a fan ever since. Here was a hilarious cartoonist based in Seattle, who seemed like a cross between Cyndi Lauper and Charles Schultz, with big white earrings, a wad of gum and a poodle named Bob. I devoured her books, Boys + Girls, Everything in the World, Big Ideas. I loved her crude draftsmanship -- her banana mouths, button eyes and razor-sharp angles -- and the way her strips seemed firmly rooted in some perpetual 1980s nightclub. But most of all, I loved her ability to encapsulate things with the tiniest of details, inscribing "Capricorn: I Worry" on a cigarette lighter or wooing a man by listening to ABBA's "Fernando."

In the 1990s, the wit and poignancy she brought to her earlier works lent themselves well to Come Over, Come Over, Down the Street, The Freddie Stories and The! Greatest! Of! Marlys! As seen through the eyes of a handful of kids -- Maybonne, Freddie, Arna and Marlys -- Barry evoked the furtive disappointments and quick sharp joys of adolescence with an accuracy few past the age of 20 have achieved. And Cruddy, a dark, disturbing carnival ride of a novel, was acclaimed by fans and critics alike, even old fans like myself who missed Barry's early ebullience.

In One Hundred Demons, all those sides of Barry combine and intermingle. Her first book in color, Demons originally appeared as biweekly feature for and is what Barry calls "autobifictionalography." Set apart by lovingly crafted collages of origami, glitter, ric-rac and paint, Barry's little vignettes travel back and forth between the worlds of childhood and adulthood. She describes her first job, working for two hippies she calls "Rippy" and "Scammy," and makes parallels between her first crush's obsession with lice and her "worst boyfriend" (Ira Glass, if all the buzz on the Web is true). In true Lynda Barry fashion, moments of profound hilarity give way to a sort of haunting gut-punch of recognition, particularly in "Cicadas" and "Resilience."

There are moments of sweetness, too, in how she finally reclaims the fun of "girliness" as a middle-aged woman and is soothed on that fateful Election Night by her kind, bearded husband. There's even a wonderful Chinese brush painting lesson in the back and the encouragement to the reader to craft your own demons. My only criticism of the book is a selfish one, that there are not 100 demons, each four pages long, contained inside.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Fault Line
  • Fault Line

    A member of the council's majority, Karen Stratton is facing a challenger backed by Mayor David Condon
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Dollars and Cents
  • Dollars and Cents

    Why poor people are imprisoned in Benton County; plus, Congress lets a major conservation fund to expire
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • Between the Numbers
  • Between the Numbers

    How a debate over adding two more commissioners turned political and personal
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
SpoYo Festival: Author S.E. Grove

SpoYo Festival: Author S.E. Grove @ Bing Crosby Theater

Sat., Oct. 10, 7-8:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Nightlife- Jukeboxes of Note

    The Baby Bar 827 W. 1st Ave. * 471-1234 I love the Baby Bar for so many reasons -- the intimacy, the bartenders, the d & eacute;cor... But most of all, I love it for its jukebox. This is no hellhole of Sting/Celine Dion adult contemporary; it's a well
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Rural Revolution

    All the farms I remember from growing up in North Idaho and Eastern Washington were not what you'd call stylish. In fact, what I do remember are blocky sofas covered in that ubiquitous mauve upholstery, copper Jell-O molds lining the kitche
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Fall Out Boys

    Mayor David Condon and Chief Frank Straub have parted ways. What that means for the SPD and next month's mayoral election
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • The Price of Freedom

    Poor people — some innocent — will languish behind bars before they're convicted. Time inside can cost them jobs, homes and children
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation