Anna Belous Belous من عند شیرود محله، مازندران، إيران
This was the first book on the syllabus for ENG/Women's Studies 307, (100 years of Southern Women Writers), in which I am serving as a graduate-level TA. It seemed too dry and abstract at first, but, as we progressed into novels by black women writers like Alice Walker and autobiographical writing by Zora Neale Hurston and others, it proved to serve as a good background about the ways of thinking in the segregated south.
I think Ms. Barry has a great novel in her yet (and she may well have already written it and I just haven't heard of it yet), but I don't feel as though this is the best she can do. Her cartoons, for which no adjectives glow quite enough, do not want for the types of heartbreaking and occasionally frightening situations that set "Cruddy" in queasy motion, but perhaps the darkly goofy innocence of the illustrations that accompany them effectively diffuse the tragedies just enough, to the point where you still want, badly want, to continue reading. "Cruddy" isn't badly written, not at all, but it marked the first time that I ever looked forward to the conclusion of a Lynda Barry book.