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Monkey Food: The Complete "I Was Seven in '75" Collection Paperback – November 1, 1999

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Affectionate and gently ironic, Forney's popular, Seattle-based autobiographical comics strip, "I Was Seven in '75," celebrates all the wacky details of growing up middle American in the era of disco. This collection of Forney's work reads like a family scrapbook, recounting the painfully funny trials of Forney, her post-hippie parents and her freckled older brother. Here are true stories about parents who throw pot parties and take the family to spend the summer at a nudist colony. With wry, matter-of-fact nostalgia and a slap-dash, expressive cartooning style, the author recounts raw-food fads and getting caught reading Judy Blume's steamy novel Forever. Forney's own work sometimes takes a page out of Blume's classics, recounting the pleasures and trials of preadolescence. She also has a knack for pointing out the cleverness (bean-bag chairs, the Bionic Woman) and silliness (black-and-white shag carpet) in the inventions of the times. Sprinkled throughout are one-page illustrated treatises on favorite pastimes (e.g., the "Pull My Finger" fart game) and fashion Dos (rainbow pants, feathered hair)Athere apparently were no fashion Don'ts in the '70s. Forney's "just yesterday" storytelling style exactly captures the weird fun of those chaotic, colorful times. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Sweet, funny, and refreshing. --Trina Robbins, author of From Girls to Girrrlz

“In the Nov. 3 issue of Seattle's Stranger newspaper, Monkey Food made the top ten local non-fiction bestseller list at No. 6.” (Eric Reynolds)

“Affectionate and gently ironic...” (Publishers Weekly)

“Forney's pro-bisexual politics and endearing drawings have been benefiting the renowned Northwestern alternative weekly The Stranger for years.” (Girlfriends)

“Forney composes big, beautiful scenes, sometimes sketching whole narratives in a single panorama.” (The Stranger)

“Ellen Forney is a major new cartooning talent.” (Feminist Bookstore News)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560973625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560973621
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cartoonist Ellen Forney is the author of NYT bestseller Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, and the 2012 "Genius Award" winner in Literature from Seattle's The Stranger. She collaborated with Sherman Alexie on the National Book Award-winning novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, created the Eisner-nominated comic books I Love Led Zeppelin and Monkey Food, and has taught comics at Cornish College of the Arts since 2002. She grew up in Philadelphia and has lived in Seattle, Washington since 1989. Ellen swims and does yoga, and fixes things with rubber bands and paper clips.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ellen Forney is one of the most talented comics artist around. She's sexually uninhibited without being creepy, fun-loving in an easy-going rather than frenetically determined way, imaginative, creative, insightful, sensitive, and wickedly funny. She has an amazing ability to convey oodles with just a few evocative strokes of her pen (the facial expressions on her characters are priceless), and her writing is fluid but compact in the way that her genre demands. I love her stuff.

I came to Monkey Food late, by way of her I Love Led Zeppelin and Lust. Although I really like the two later books, Monkey Food is my hands-down favorite of the three. It's a fantastic mixture. Forney portrays her family with such warm affection that you ache to have grown up similarly. There are laugh-out-loud moments (something I rarely do when I'm reading) as she tells stories of zany moments from her childhood (the visit to the nudist camp was one of my favorites). And there's a nice satirical edge to a lot of the pieces (such as a comparison of "legal" vices such as booze and tobacco and illegal "vices" such as pot-smoking).

Being raised on monkey food (read the story on Unitarianism to find out what it is) seems to have worked out pretty darn good for Ellen. And that works out well for the rest of us. I look forward to more from her.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Russell Belfer on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I may be biased, since I, too, was seven in '75, but I found this collection to be quite entertaining. There are several true stories from Ms. Forney's childhood each told through a series of 1-page comics. Each one includes loads of small details from the 70s that will be familiar to most readers (from CB radios to Pop-Rocks to rainbows on everything to Judy Blume, and so on). Most of the amusement comes from the asides that the author makes while relating the stories (although they are all told from her childhood perspective) and from the pre-cynical view that most of the characters have of the world. My favorite stories are the nudist camp story and the forced book report on Judy Blume's Forever.
Ms. Forney's artwork is mostly simple and pleasing, and she does include some more detailed drawings done from photographs of her childhood.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like graphic art/comics and I LOVE the 70s. I was 5 in 75 and I remember sooo much that I thought this was going to be like talking to one of my friends from childhood. While I did enjoy Ellen's memories, they were waaay different than mine. My parents were not nudists, didn't throw swing parties, etc. While we did go to a Universalist Church and my mother was a pluralist (so she really had an interesting variety of friends), my parents were more "regular" and the only thing modern was that they got divorced. I am still looking for that person who remembers Tickle deodorant, Loves Baby Soft, Kissing Potion roller lip gloss, Kissing Sticks, tube socks, terry cloth short sets, Frost & Tip, shiny pants, and roller rinks.
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By Mike on April 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found out about Ellen Forney a few months ago and have read all her books, except one. It seems like she really puts her heart into her work.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greg McElhatton on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ellen Forney's look at her childhood will make you laugh out loud as she lets you relive her (and your own!) best and worst moments... You can't ask for a better tribute to one's family than this.
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