Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ReRead: Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons

Out of all Lynda Barry's books, One Hundred Demons is the one I turn to the most. At almost a decade old, its heart and wisdom never fails to disappoint. This, in particular, resonated with me:
On my street there were a lot of girls, but girlish girls were few. Mostly we were tomboys.
I was well into my twenties before I heard the phrase "girly girl." The girls on my block were tomboys, too, though the term may have been slightly antiquated by the mid-80s. We were just girls: we had dolls, but mostly we wrestled in the dirt and played basketball with the boys. No one I knew had desires of being a princess. (The princess myth completely eluded me. As far as unrealistic future career goals, well, I wanted to be a dinosaur. Yeah, that makes complete sense.)

What I really love about One Hundred Demons is for all its sentimentality, it's an incredibly realistic portrayal of a working-class childhood. Not only the lack of "girly girls" on Barry's block, but the feeling of being an eternal misfit, something that permeates much of her work.

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