Lynda Barry is an extraordinary talent, with a real gift for creating utterly believable child characters. Marlys is so well written that you end up feeling like some of these things happened to you, regardless of how different your childhood was.The Quietus
Welcome to the world of Marlys and Maybonne
"Lynda Barry’s comics were my YA, before YA really even existed. She’s been writing teen stories with an incredibly clear voice since the early 80s. [The Greatest Of Marlys] is raw, ugly, hilarious, and poignant.” –Raina Telgemeier, Smile & Drama
Eight-year-old Marlys Mullen is Lynda Barry’s most famous character from her long-running and landmark comic strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, and for good reason! Given her very own collection of strips, Marlys shines in all her freckled and pig-tailed groovy glory. The trailer park where she and her family live is the grand stage for her dramas big and small. Joining Marlys are her teenaged sister Maybonne, her younger brother Freddie, their mother, and an offbeat array of family members, neighbors, and classmates.
Marlys’s enthusiasm for life knows no bounds. Her childhood is one where the neighborhood kids stay out all night playing kickball; the desire to be popular is unending; bullies are unrepentant; and parents make few appearances. The Greatest Of Marlys spotlights Barry’s masterful skill of chronicling childhood through adolescence in all of its wonder, awkwardness, humor, and pain.
Praise for The Greatest of Marlys
Marlys ranks with Charlie Brown as one of the most genuine and poignant adolescent protagonists in serial comics…If you haven’t read Barry, let this book be your gateway: she is one of a kind, and with Marlys, she is irresistible.The Paris Review
You’ll cheer for Marlys and empathize with her embarrassments, just like the supportive adult figure you wished you had when you were her age.Huffington Post
Barry is one of American literature’s great chroniclers of childhood. Her comic strips, drawn in disarmingly and deceptively childlike lines, distill the essence of fried bologna sandwiches and stray dogs, mysterious teenage bedrooms, and kickball at dusk.Publishers Weekly
Barry's unique genius lies in her capacity to wiggle under your skin and, once there, to wiggle some more until you're gasping and twitching, not sure if it's with laughter or something else. She provokes existential squirminess.NPR
Marlys is bizarre but lovable, and Barry does an excellent job of entertaining readers with her exploits through captivating dialog, varying points of view, and drawings that depict a child’s world.Library Journal
These strips have the directness and power of lived experience. The images are busy and potent. The words veer between the demotic and the poetic. And the whole thing pulses with life. You will be richer for reading it.Herald Scotland
The Greatest of Marlys shows some of the earliest iterations of the weird, warm, boundless energy that has characterized [Barry’s] career. It also helps preserve a character who was considered by millions of readers (and hopefully now by millions more) a great friend.Chicago Reader
The best of these strips manage to conjure a whole tale with such remarkable economy that it feels like a magic trick… Barry manages to pack a whole novel's worth of emotional climax into 100 words and four simple line-drawings.Boing Boing