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on October 12, 2003
This 1981 classic collection of Lynn Johnston's For Better Or Worse syndicated comicstrip soap opera is a wonderful place for FBoW readers to start.
Travel back in time to when Elly is a young married stay-at-home mom with a clueless spouse, a five-year-old Michael, and infant Elizabeth. Here can be seen the early development of the characters we have all grown up with. Lynn Johnston sees humor in the struggles and problems of a married mom in the early 1980's. The times have changed, but the problems are much the same.
The action is much easier to follow when it is a tight nuclear family rather than the extended four generation clan of today. Also Lynn's humor is much more on the surface as we see her struggle with what it means to be a married stay-at-home mom through the cartoon Elly and her attempts to find herself while raising two children and keeping up a home.
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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!
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VINE VOICEon October 29, 2002
You know what it is - that last washload before you can settle down for the evening, that last drink of water before bedtime, that bone tired feeling that comes from caring for children, that feeling that they will always need you to bathe them and put them to bed and you will never ever be able to go to the bathroom in peace....or maybe you don't and you want to see what it's like. I recommend this book highly to give you that insight.
I must confess I am a fan of Lynn Johnston's "For Better or For Worse Seiries" and I _have_ had the "one more washload blues" more than once. It's a great beginning book to introduce you to the characters that Lynn follows faithfully in her daily comic strip. As it's fascinating to watch children grow into adults and see how they turn out, it's wonderful to see how stories get played out in Lynn Johnston's world.
So if you've ever had the "one more washload blues" or you know somebody who has, get this book. It will bring a smile to the weary person that suffers this fate - and it's cheaper than Prozac, no visits to the doctor and they can read it as often as they like;)
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on April 26, 2007
This collection, which reprints the first year (1979-80) of Lynn Johnston's now-classic strip, shows how far the Patterson family (and their readers) have come. Elly is a young stay-at-home mom, John has barely started his dental practice, Michael is barely out of toddlerdom and Elizabeth is still a baby. The strip focuses almost exclusively on this foursome, Johnston's ever-expanding cast of additional siblings, spouses, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and pets still well over the horizon.

The humor itself is broader and more self-consciously "gaggy" than it would become, with Johnston relying on Erma Bombeck-style observations that had already become cliches by 1980. There's little of the dramatic narratives and wry observations that would later characterize the strip. By the same token, Johnston's artwork is less assured and a little more "cartoony" than what we're now used to. This is a comic strip that's still very much finding its legs, and its voice.

That caveat aside, if you want to know how the Patterson clan got to where they are now, this is the place to start.
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on January 31, 2015
Lynn Johnson is one of the best in the business. Book condition is as presented.
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on July 7, 2014
I am a big fan of Lynn Johnston. This is another one of her great winners
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on February 11, 2015
The book is very entertaining and funny.
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on March 26, 2000
I feel like a part of the For Better Or For Worse Family. Keep the books coming Lynn.
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on January 10, 2015
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