Cruddy by Lynda Barry

Heather Huff,
Program Coordinator, MAP

I’d like to talk about the book Cruddy by Lynda Barry.  It’s almost impossible for me to say how amazing this book is!  I have read it at least 4 times and can’t wait to read it again.  This book tells the story of an unfortunate young girl: unsocial, awkward, unattractive, neglected and abused.  It follows her through an adventure of self-discovery as she becomes acquainted with other local outcast kids, drugs, and the strangeness of life.  And as you follow her on this journey, she also begins to recount the tale of her adventure with her deranged, alcoholic father who took her on a murder spree across the U.S.

Lynda Barry flawlessly captures beauty in the macabre, the chaos and uncertainty of living, and the strange resilience of the human spirit. Her characters are amazingly well developed, and she captures each voice with such brilliance that I find myself returning, again and again, because I feel so close to these figments of her imagination that I miss seeing their faces, hearing them speak, watching them interact.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves awed by the utter strangeness and beauty of living, even in its darkest moments.
“The Graphic Novel Renaissance: Twenty-five years after ‘Maus’ put graphic novels on the map, the art form is exploding,” Maya Jaggi, The Daily Beast
“Barry is an expert in the too-often neglected vernacular of working-class childhood in urban America,” Heidi Bell, Salon
Writers from Wisconsin, Wikipedia

“Is it true you wrote Cruddy entirely by hand, in cursive?”
“I wrote it with a paintbrush on legal paper. I don’t think it would have happened any other way. I came to that way of working because I had been trying to write a novel on my computer but the problem was that dang delete button. You can get rid of something before you even know what it is. Also there is all the difference in the world between tapping a finger to make an “a” and drawing the letter “a.” For me at least, it’s the movement of my hand that makes a story come to me.” Interview with Lynda Barry, Amy Kellner, VICE

One thought on “Cruddy by Lynda Barry

  1. I so do identify with Barry when she speaks in the interview excerpt about the hand moving on the page–as opposed to tapping a key–bringing a story to life.

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