Top critical review
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Better to start your FBorFW collection elsewhere
on July 11, 2000
This is the first "For Better or For Worse" collection, and it's pretty clear that Lynn Johnston was still just finding her voice and style in most of these strips. It's pretty fascinating for serious fans to see the oldest strips, but there's not a lot to recommend this book beyond the historical value. My biggest problem with this collection is that the characters aren't very consistent with what they soon became. John in particular is chauvinistic, insensitive, dumb...and in general, not very funny. Sure, he's always had an element of cluelessness to him, but usually that's only in the context of a man who loves and respects his wife and family. Not here. In fact, it's interesting to note that in the three FBorFW anthologies, the strips drawn from this era either don't feature John at all or play down the personality we're treated to here. That makes me think Johnston might have decided there was some excess in these strips. I didn't find myself caring about the Pattersons as well as laughing at them the way I usually do. Also, there are few multi-strip stories here; mostly it's a one-off gag with each strip. Which is okay, except that Johnston is sooooo good at the longer stories, of course they're missed. To wrap up, it's pretty simple. If you're a serious fan, you'll want this book. If you love battle-of-the-sexes jokes, you'll definitely want this book. If you're hoping for more early stories of the Pattersons we've come to know and love...look elsewhere!