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on January 27, 2001
Lynda Berry -- like Carson McCullers, Dorothy Allison and Earl Thompson -- writes brilliantly about the world of cast-off and broken children. [read her "The Freddie Stories" and "Cruddy" to see this world at its most tragic and beautiful.] But The! Great! MARLYS! is the sainted warrior of these damaged kids. It is through Marlys that Berry voices the finest of herself: her joy and genius and innocence. Marlys is the classic resiliant child and a beacon for kids who grow up with four strikes against them. She is one of the most heroic figures I have found in fiction.
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on January 4, 2002
I'd give this book 10 stars if I could. It is so beyond good. You are transported back to an earlier time and really made to remember what it was to be a child - especially a child in a dysfunctional family. Lynda Barry's comics touch upon some of the sadder moments of childhood and dysfunction without losing their comic and ironic edge. They allow you to laugh without getting bogged down in the misery. They allow you to understand the pain without forgetting to enjoy the little things. This is truly a work of comic art. Lynda Barry is one of the best comic artists of our time.
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on July 19, 2002
I love Marlys and her goofiness. She is alternately hilarious (as when she describes all the different methods of fake smoking, such as the gum cigarrette with its realistic coughing, or a hot dog, for when you're having hobo feelings) and touching (as when she describes her sister's threat to kill herself when the tree outside loses its last leaf - which prompts Marlys to glue a bunch of leaves back onto the tree). I love how she reminds me so poignantly of the bossy kid that I was, and the wacky things that kids think. This book is way worth it.
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on November 2, 2000
I have most of the comics contained in this book by way of Ms. Barry's earlier collections. But this book really fills out the world of Maybonne, Marlys, Freddy, Arna, and Arnold by taking some of the best comics and creating a tapestry.
On the down side, I felt that some really good comics from the early 90's were left out, specifically the ones where Maybonne sees her friend being molested; those left an impact. But I guess it's the best of Marlys, so we can only hope for the best of Maybonne collection later.
The BIG plus of this collection is that Marlys is hilarious. Sometimes tragic-hilarious or poignant-hilarious, but almost always making me laugh. Some random quotes for your pleasure:
"Watch my magic finger." - Marlys, teaching a song "Watch my magic butt." - The great Arnold #1
"I hate you Squanto" - hand turkey, being shot by a Pilgrim with the help of Squanto.
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VINE VOICEon January 13, 2001
No one can catch the poignant, perfect, sometimes heartbreaking, and usually funny in retrospect side of childhood like Lynda Barry. We all were Arna, Freddie, Arnold, Maybonne, and Marlys during some point in our youth as much as we might like to deny it! As I read these comics, the stories bring back the exact feelings I had when it was me doing the hand-turkey drawings, making shoe-box dioramas, and dancing in front of the mirror. If you want to relive the trauma, deliriousness, and great, great fun of being a child, Marlys and friends will bring it all back to you!
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on March 21, 2015
The Greatest of Marlys is my most recent book by Lynda Barry and I recommend it highly for a number of reasons. I am a white 63 year old doctor who has read, out of order, nearly everything Ms. Barry has published. I mention that because I am probably not her typical reader. Yet, I have learned much from her work and have great admiration for her insights into preadolescent boys and girls. Although probably based somewhat on her own experiences, she his extraordinary insight into the mental life of her characters. Her deliberately amateurish drawings are perfectly suited to stories she relates through her graphic art. No, these are not cartoons, in my opinion, but miniature stories with illustrations that give life to her characters narrative. Lynda Barry is, in fact, a true artist.
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on January 21, 2001
Marlys is very real and her adventures are as heartbreaking as they are hilarious. Most of the cartoons in the series are just totally gut-bustingly funny, but many of them contain elements of pain that anyone who was ever a child will be able to relate to. Also, the poetry of Fred Milton, Beat Poodle is truly inspired. Barry has a genious for getting into the heads and souls of children (and Beat Poodles) and the results are wonderful. I recommend "The Greatest of Marlys" without reservation.
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on July 8, 2001
This book includes strips from some of Lynda's other books that are out of print, like The Fun House and It's So Magic. Missing these is a crime to your book collection so thank god for the awesomly titled The! Greatest! of! Marlys! Lynda Barry's work perfectly hits on the altered mental state of childhood and adolescence in certain kinds of misfit, but creative and eternally hopeful people. If you know this kind of person this book will speak to you by name. Lynda Barry's dead-on honesty and great sense of absurdity are perfectly nailed with details like the language and thought processes of kids writing essays or creating makeshift newspapers or weird games to try to make the mundane world around them live up to their great hopes and imaginations. Including her essays, books, and other comics, she is one of my very favorite writers of all time.
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on August 2, 2001
Who but Lynda Barry would choose the name Marlys as a cartoon character? I know a few other people named Marlys but none younger than me (45). I grew up in the era that these comics are living in so can relate to the very funny situations. I laugh out loud when I read these, my kids don't get the jokes. Anyone named Marlys should have this book. It will be an heirloom!
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on December 27, 2013
I have been reading Lynda Barry comics for many years and got this for my teenage daughter. great drawings, funny and just fun to have! if you have not read her books and comics I recommend it ~ she is a genius :D
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