9780684838465

Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel

Barry, Lynda

ISBN 10: 068483846X / 0-684-83846-X
ISBN 13: 9780684838465
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping acid, a sixteen-year-old curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom and begins to write.
Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood.
The girl is Roberta Rohbeson, and her rant against a world bounded by "the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road" soon becomes a detailed account of another story, one that she has kept silent since she was eleven.
Darkly funny and resonant with humanity, Cruddy, masterfully intertwines Roberta's stories -- part Easy Rider and part bipolar Wizard of Oz. These stories, the backbone of Roberta's short life, include a one-way trip across America fueled by revenge and greed and a vivid cast of characters, starring Roberta's dangerous father, the owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar-cum-slaughterhouse, and runaway adolescents. With a teenager's eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Cruddy is a stunning achievement.

Review:
Lynda Barry's illustrated novel Cruddy has not one but three equally alarming openings. The first is a suicide note: "Dear Anyone Who Finds This, Do not blame the drugs." The next is a description of the lurid crucifix that hangs over the narrator's bed: "Some nights looking at him scares me so bad I can hardly move and I start doing a prayer for protection. But when the thing that is scaring you is already Jesus, who are you supposed to pray to?" The third is worthy of a nightmare fairytale, beginning "Once upon a cruddy time on a cruddy street on the side of a cruddy hill in the cruddiest part of a crudded-out town in a cruddy state, country, world, solar system, universe..."

She's not exaggerating. It's 1971, and 16-year-old Roberta Rohbeson lives in what looks very much like hell. It's five years after the Lucky Chief Motel Massacre, after which Roberta was found wandering the desert, covered with blood and clutching her dog, Cookie, who suffers from "incurable skin problems." Even now, Roberta still won't talk about what happened. She lives with her mother and sister on the aforementioned cruddy street, hides in the weeds during her lunch period, and eventually befriends some suicidal misfits like herself. The novel intercuts their chemically enhanced adventures with scenes from a gore-filled road trip taken five years before. Hint No. 1: Roberta's father used to run a slaughterhouse. Hint No. 2: The maps inside the front covers have keys that read "Dead People We Left Behind" and "Places There Were Blood."

Barry came to fame as a cartoonist, and though the humor in her strip Ernie Pook's Comeek is dark, nothing in it could prepare her fans for the sheer horror of Cruddy. The novel is funny, sort of, as long as you think naming a knife Little Debbie is funny, or lines like "A man who has been dead for a week in a hot trailer looks more like a man than you would first expect." What's more, it's compulsively, almost harrowingly, readable, written with the kind of velocity that makes you keep turning pages even when you don't want to. Despite the hallucinogenic quality of the violence around her, Roberta is never anything less than real, and her story will strike chords in anyone whose childhood was marked by ugliness and fear. Cruddy may be a bad acid trip, but if you can stomach the ride, it's a very good book. --Mary Park

Review

Review:
On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping two of the 127 hits of acid found in a friend's shoe, a sixteen-year old who is grounded for a year curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom, picks up a pen, and begins to write. Once upon a cruddy time on a cruddy street on the side of a cruddy hill in the cruddiest part of a crudded-out town in a cruddy state, country, world, solar system, universe. The c ruddy girl named Roberta was writing the cruddy book of her cruddy life and the name of th e book was called Cruddy.

Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago wh en the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood . She could not give the authorities any information about why she was the only survivor and everyone else was lying around in hacked-up pieces. Roberta Rohbeson, 1971. Her overblown, drug-induced teenage rant against a world bounded by "the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road behin d cruddy Black Cat Lumber" soon becomes a detailed account of another story. It is a stor y about which Roberta has kept silent for five years, until, under the influence of a pale hippie called the Turtle and a drug called Creeper, her tale giddily unspools . . .

Roberta Rohbeson, 1967. The world of Roberta, age eleven, is terrifyingly unbounded, a one-way cross-country road trip fueled by revenge and by greed, a violent, hallucinat ory, sometimes funny, more often horrific year of killings, betrayals, arson, and a sinister set of butcher knives each with its own name.

Welcome to Cruddy, Lynda Barry's masterful tale of the two intertwined narratives set five years-an eternity-apart, and which form the backbone of Roberta's life. Cruddy is a wild ride indeed, a fairy tale-cum-low-budget horror movie populated by a cast of cha racters that will remain vivid in the reader's mind long after the final page: Roberta's f ather, a dangerous alcoholic and out-of-work meat cutter in search of his swindled inherit ance; the frightening owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar and sometime slaughterhouse; and t wo charming but quite mad escapees from the Barbara V. Herrmann Home for Adolescent Rest. Written with a teenager's eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Roberta's two stories-part Easy Rider and part bi-polar Wizard of Oz-painfully but inevitably converge in a surprising denouement in a nightmarish Dreamland in the Nevada desert. By turns terrifying, darkly funny, and resonant with humanity, propelled by all the narrat ive power of a superior thriller and burnished by the author's pitch-perfect ear for dialo gue, Cruddy is a stunning achievement.

From the Inside Flap

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Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel (ISBN: 068483846X / 0-684-83846-X)
Barry, Lynda
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ISBN 13: 9780684838465
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Barry, Lynda
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Barry, Lynda
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Book Description: SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Illustrated. 201 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping acid, a sixteen-year-old curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom and begins to write. Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood. The girl is Roberta Rohbeson, and her rant against a world bounded by the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road soon becomes a detailed account of another story, one that she has kept silent since she was eleven. Darkly funny and resonant with humanity, Cruddy, masterfully intertwines Roberta s stories -- part Easy Rider and part bipolar Wizard of Oz. These stories, the backbone of Roberta s short life, include a one-way trip across America fueled by revenge and greed and a vivid cast of characters, starring Roberta s dangerous father, the owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar-cum-slaughterhouse, and runaway adolescents. With a teenager s eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Cruddy is a stunning achievement. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780684838465

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Barry, Lynda
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Barry, Lynda
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Book Description: SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Illustrated. 201 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping acid, a sixteen-year-old curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom and begins to write. Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood. The girl is Roberta Rohbeson, and her rant against a world bounded by the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road soon becomes a detailed account of another story, one that she has kept silent since she was eleven. Darkly funny and resonant with humanity, Cruddy, masterfully intertwines Roberta s stories -- part Easy Rider and part bipolar Wizard of Oz. These stories, the backbone of Roberta s short life, include a one-way trip across America fueled by revenge and greed and a vivid cast of characters, starring Roberta s dangerous father, the owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar-cum-slaughterhouse, and runaway adolescents. With a teenager s eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Cruddy is a stunning achievement. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780684838465

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