Pin It
Favorite

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 Salon.com 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

  • Game Changer
  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • In Contempt
  • In Contempt

    A Spokane judge rules that the mental health system has willfully failed to follow evaluation deadlines
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Never Again
  • Never Again

    Washington state lawmakers push reforms after last July's murder-suicide; plus, Spokane's police ombudsman is leaving
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
A T. Rex Named Sue

A T. Rex Named Sue @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 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
  • Pictures of an Expedition

    First things first. Author Claire Rudolf Murphy has it on good authority that "Sacajawea" is pronounced the way we've always done it here in the Inland Northwest. Soft "j" sound, accents on the first and fourth syllables. Of course now, his
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Let Us Breathe

    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation