An Illustrated Novel
By Lynda Barry
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780684838465, 320pp.
Publication Date: October 10, 2000
Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood.
The girl is Roberta Rohbeson, and her rant against a world bounded by "the cruddy top bedroom of a cruddy rental house on a very cruddy mud road" soon becomes a detailed account of another story, one that she has kept silent since she was eleven.
Darkly funny and resonant with humanity, Cruddy, masterfully intertwines Roberta's stories -- part Easy Rider and part bipolar Wizard of Oz. These stories, the backbone of Roberta's short life, include a one-way trip across America fueled by revenge and greed and a vivid cast of characters, starring Roberta's dangerous father, the owners of the Knocking Hammer Bar-cum-slaughterhouse, and runaway adolescents. With a teenager's eye for freakish detail and a nervous ability to make the most horrible scenes seem hilarious, Cruddy is a stunning achievement.
The New York Times
A work of terrible beauty.
One of the top ten best books of the year.
The Wall Street Journal
Ms. Barry has an ear for the casual cruelties of teenage conversation, for the way in which the most banal exchange can be fraught with hidden meanings and undercurrents of emotion. A dark little gem.
The New Yorker
Cruddy's horror-bright narrative and over-the-top mayhem comedy nearly blind you to its plain, heartbreaking realism....An unforgettable, seamlessly imagined voice.
A work of daredevil literary wizardry.