The Good Times Are Killing Me
Lynda Barry...where to begin? A comics titan and venerable ray of sunshine, Barry’s work is, well, transformative. Her latest release The Good Times Are Killing Me is no exception. An illustrated novel, Good Times wraps around you like a warm, comforting blanket that you can vent to, and cry into in equal measure. If you think I’m exaggerating, then you clearly need some more Lynda in your life.
The narrative follows young Edna Arkins, who lives in the heart of urban Seattle in the 1960s. A tough neighbourhood on the brink of change, Edna, who is white, begins a forbidden friendship with a young black girl named Bonna Willis. What unfolds is an intimate story tied together by a passion for music, and laden with a palpable teenage awkwardness that makes your heart hurt for both Edna and your former, younger self as well. A master at writing from a preteen perspective as seen in past books The Greatest of Marlys and Cruddy, Lynda Barry's characters come off the page fully-formed - calling for you to feel with them, hope with them, fall in love with them.
Following the narrative is a specially designed “music notebook,” that discusses the origins of the likes of Otis Redding, Ma Rainey, blues, gospel, and more, paired, of course, with detailed portraits. Accompanied by a personal afterword by Lynda Barry, The Good Times Are Killing Me is a beautifully packaged novella that proves that Lynda will always be at the top of her game - regardless of the medium.
Oh, and it's out TODAY! Pick it up The Good Times Are Killing Me at nearest bookstore, and, in the meantime, check out her latest advice column in the Paris Review.