I know from my own experience that the addition of pictures to memoirs and journals can transform thoughts and memories into something more than just the workings of an individual brain. As the graphic novel format spawns new variations and genres, more authors are beginning to suggest that comic books can help us to make sense of the confusion in our lives. This brings me to One Hundred Demons, which is Barry’s first officially autobiographical book (although her fans might recognize incarnations of some family members from The! Greatest! Of! Marlys! and Freddie Stories). Barry’s artwork employs collage, painting, calligraphy and various other interesting techniques, giving readers the feeling of being taken on a guided tour through a friend’s attic… or maybe just into the top drawer of an old bureau, full of odd socks, faded photos, and empty perfume bottles. For anyone who grew up weird and wondering what made “normal” people seem so different, these stories of elementary school, bad love, and strange shopping trips will sound very familiar. Who knew that childhood unpopularity and grown-up nostalgia could give birth to stories that seem true even to strangers? So get out your block of Japanese ink, a horsehair paintbrush, and a pad of yellow legal paper and write a few of your own stories about how as we grow up we never quite manage to lose the kids we were. Sincerely! Pass it on!!

One Hundred Demons
ISBN: 9781570614590
by Lynda Barry
Sasquatch Books, 2002

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