I borrowed this book from Columbia's Butler Library, which like Barnard's library and unlike NYPL, still stamps the due date in the book, so you can tell how many people have checked it out before you. I miss that, NYPL! The earliest stamp is Nov 15 1989, and as best as I can tell it's been checked out about 15 times, though I have no way of telling how many times it was renewed. In an academic library with semester long borrowing periods, there's a good chance someone hoarded it for a year or two. I did that with Comics Librarianship: a Handbook for like three years in the early days of the Barnard Library Zine Collection. But getting back to the book at hand (sorry!), how did I not join the Lynda Barry cult sooner?
The Good Times Are Killing Me tells of Edna Arkins's adolescence in short little episodes. They're related and more or less linear, but stand alone more than chapters in a more typical novel. They're punchy and powerful like poems and very short stories, and personal in the same way, too, telling you things you thought only you knew or felt. This book and also One! Hundred! Demons!, which I'm reading now, address the horror of junior high and finding out all of a sudden that you're a dork, and also that all of your previous friendships, especially those with people of a different race are no longer valid.
After the novella is a section of illustrated descriptions of various country and blues musicians and movements, including Ma Rainey, Zodico, Cleoma Falcon, and Hociel Thomas.
From the first day of seventh grade everyone was new. Even if you had known them all your life they were still new. And from the second we walked through the doors we all automatically split apart into groups of who was alike. Everyone knew exactly what to do, like someone was whispering instructions to our hands and feet and hair. Every kid from my old school, all of us who had ever lived on the same street together and played together all our lives stopped talking and walking with each other and never talked or walked with each other again. p. 77