- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 1250L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Little Bigfoot; Reprint edition (March 30, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 157061105X
- ISBN-13: 978-1570611056
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Good Times Are Killing Me Paperback – March 30, 1999
Readers of alternative weeklies will be familiar with Lynda Barry's work from her long-running comic strip, Ernie Pook's Comeek. Similarly, The Good Times Are Killing Me focuses on the surprisingly complex emotional world of children. It is the story of a neighborhood going through the throes of integration and white flight as seen through the eyes of young Edna Arkins. Edna forms an unlikely friendship with Bonna Willis, a girl with a talent for "ass beating." Edna is white and Bonna is black, and from the start there are pressures from both sides against their friendship. As always, Barry is an impeccable observer of the way kids think and talk--several passages are certain to bring memories of intense schoolyard negotiations rushing back. Barry's artwork comes into play as well--each chapter is punctuated with slightly more painterly versions of her characteristically raw drawing style. By turns funny and moving, The Good Times Are Killing Me is an immensely satisfying read. --Ali Davis
From Publishers Weekly
Edna Arkins, the young white narrator of this first novel, describes her coming of age in a racially mixed neighborhood and her friendship with Bonna Willis, a black girl. Their camaraderie is against "the rules" imposed by others but survives anyway. The novel, written as a series of vignettes, evokes memories of adolescence that many will probably share: the loneliness, the dares, the music lessons, the threats. The reader also catches a glimpse of Edna's family with all their idiosyncrasies. Her cousin Steve, for example, always repeats a particular menacing phrase every time he is alone with her and, as Edna says, "probably always will . . . even when we are both as old and shriveled up as two ancient pieces of gum stuck under a chair." Barry conveys the anguish and confusion of youth discovering that society is riddled with prejudice, and her light touch is balanced by respect for her characters and their problems. The book also includes 18 richly colored illustrations by the author, a syndicated cartoonist.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is wonderful. Lynda Barry has a way of writing from the perspective of a child that is astounding. Her novels seem so real, so autobiographical that I am not sure how much of The Good Times Are Killing Me is even fiction at all.
I loved the spirituality, the music, the warmth and the honesty of Lynda's story. I couldn't put it down. It's very short and perfectly suitable for young people. However, I do not believe it to be best for young people. I don't know if they'll appreciate the story as much as an adult would. I think that because the protagonist is young, and because the story is about race and school and growing up, people want it to be a book for young readers. I'm just not so sure. I don't think there is ANYTHING in here that is inappropriate or bad for younger readers, I just don't think they'd appreciate it as much as an adult would.
I believe this book should be a part of English curriculum in junior high schools.
Of course, I wouldn't use it if it weren't a wonderful novel as well. It is. The story that is told is gripping, and my students love reading it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Lynda Barry. She has such a delightful way of telling what seems to be kind of a simple story, but with universal appeal.Published 6 months ago by C. Ott
I love Lynda Barry and this book was as awesome as everything else I've ever read of hers. Loved it.Published 6 months ago by J. Sarrel
Favorite Lynda Barry book. Coming of age story captures race issues from pre teen late 60's/70's perspective.Published 9 months ago by Sam
As with the other Lynda Barry GN's I wish she would let her filipino side bleed into her books more. Either way, nice book...good moral.Published 17 months ago by Chris
I GOT THIS BOOK FOR MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS TO TRY OUT FOR THE LOCAL PLAY. SHE DID NOT TRY OUT BUT HAS BEEN UNABLE TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN SINCE I GOT IT. Read morePublished on September 4, 2011 by jupitermap
When I finished this book, I had to stop and think for a long time. It was a simple story from a kid's point of view, encompassing very difficult subjects: Poverty, abuse, and... Read morePublished on October 13, 2009 by Barbara B. Ullman