Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Finally Friday!

Since I am reading Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam (and really enjoying it!) I have added another one of her books to my wish list:

You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness
by Julie Klam:

The hilarious and heartfelt chronicle of a woman learning the secrets of love, health, and happiness from some very surprising teachers: her dogs. This title will be released in October 2010.

by Lynda Barry:

From Goodreads:
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.

What did YOU find today?


Jillian said...

Hi, this is Jillian from Random Ramblings. I am trying to contact all the blog's followers.. if you could please read my latest post about the blog's technical problems, I'd greatly appreciate it. You can read the post right here. Thank you so very much!

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

I love the title You Had Me at Woof! :-D

Anonymous said...

You Had Me At Woof - love this title!

Jo-Jo said...

These both sound great! Who can't just love the title You Had Me at Woof???

Liz said...

I, too, love the title of "Woof." Just goes to show you how a line from a movie that's what, 10 years old? still has staying power.

My find: an ebook called "The Instant," about the last second before death for an Austrian accountant, Herr Zimmerman. He goes through the rainbow and finds out all kinds of truths, and colors, and nuances and many other feelings -- that he finds out he could have done while still alive. He meets all kinds of people, including William Shakespeare and finds new meaning in "to be or not to be." Interesting, funny and thought- provoking -- death isn't what you think it is.


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