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Cruddy

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  4,198 ratings  ·  541 reviews
On a September night in 1971, a few days after getting busted for dropping acid, a sixteen-year-old curls up in the corner of her ratty bedroom and begins to write.
Now the truth can finally be revealed about the mysterious day long ago when the authorities found a child, calmly walking in the boiling desert, covered with blood.
The girl is Roberta Rohbeson, and her rant
...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Donkeyballs
Jun 05, 2007 Donkeyballs rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I'll never understand why drippy guys like Eggers and Franzen get such Oproid levels of attention for their emotion stuff, creeps like Klosterman and Self get fanboy appreciation for their dark violence, and most women writers get shunted (albeit loudly) into the chick lit ghetto, and yet Lynda Barry is still under our radar.

This book is powerful, stunning in its emotional depth, redolent of the dark corners of youth, violent and scary. Definitely not chick lit. Lynda Barry is probably the most
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Eva
What I learned from this book is that my life is not as weird, twisted, or unfortunate as I thought it was. My father may have taken me to bars as a toddler and let the old men play with me, but he never cut off my finger or had me shave my head and pretend to be a mute Mongoloid of the opposite gender. I may not always like my life or chosen profession, but at least I'm not morbidly obese with a blue tooth stuck running a bar that's a front for grinding up the corpses of murdered people. I do n ...more
alyssa carver
Nov 15, 2014 alyssa carver rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the teenage girl in you*
Shelves: favorites
it's hard to say why i love this book so much. nope--got it. it's because lynda barry captures the combination of anguish and delusional hope that is particular to adolescent girls who hate themselves and everyone else too but nonetheless maintain the powerful and naive belief that someday they will be loved. and in pursuit of that life-saving belief in love, they will scarifice themselves to almost anything.

sad? yes. but she makes it so funny, too, in spite of all the acid-tripping, kidnapping
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James
Oct 21, 2007 James rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with a strong stomach
I loved this book!! I've been meaning to read Barry for awhile and came across a copy of Cruddy and went for it. I don't know where to place this book. It's the story of a girl named Roberta who may very well of had the most miserable existence anyone could conjur up, and it unveils itself in a stream of off the wall disaster and heartbreaking realizations. Two narrative rn parallel to each other as Roberta accounts both from her "restricted life;" she's grounded. One narrative is the story of h ...more
Megan
Jan 11, 2008 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Megan by: Erin Finnegan, thanks a lot.
This is one of the most disturbing and grotesque books I've ever read, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have gotten more out of it if only I had at some point done a lot of psychotropic drugs. I can't say I enjoyed this book, but I was kind of amazed by it. I think the story and the characters are on a level of screwed up I am nowhere close to - and by the end of the novel I was really very grateful for that. This is a reading experience of shock and awe, maybe, then. I honestly can' ...more
Cindy
Cruddy is one of the best books ever written in the voice of a teenager. It is a nonstop, frenzied, can't-put-it-down kind of a book. The brilliance of the main character's voice is demonstrated in the very first paragraph of the very first page.

EXCERPT:
"When we first moved here, the mother took the blue-mirror cross that hung over her bed in our old house and nailed a nail for it in the new bedroom of me and my sister. Truthfully it is a cross I have never liked. The Jesus of it seems haunted.
...more
Heather
Dec 26, 2007 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who were raised in trailers
Shelves: first-tier-reads
My brother and I read this book to each other outloud one christmas. If you grew up the same way I did, it will make you feel like you are normal. If you did not, for example, if you had a pool table, a home without wheels, or a kitchen table that was actually used - or if you otherwise had a parent who knew how to use the stove - this book might disturb you. You will think it is science fiction or fiction or otherwise improbable. It is not,
Bark's Book Nonsense
I've read a lot of ugly things in my life but this book touches on a deeper level because of this young child's age and the horrors she endures daily in her truly "cruddy" life. If it weren't so darned sad it'd be almost funny. Wish this book had been around when I was 14 or so and my own life may not have looked quite so bleak to me after having read it. The author has a knack for digging into an adolescent's mind and really brings that painful period of time of young adulthood (those ugly year ...more
Lucía
A relentlessly violent, hippie-era Matilda, where the drugged-out teenage narrator has a knife instead of telekinesis, and the sole sympathetic adult character can't rescue her from the cruelty of the adult world. Also, it's a road story. And really funny. And sad and scary.
Julia
This book is some sick shit. I took a break from "We Are Not Afraid" to finish this for Bar Book Club, reading the last pages before stepping out the door to see the new Batman movie. So basically the last few days of my life, I have been mired in a lot of dark, depressing, and "sick shit," at least in terms of reading and viewing material. To transition from a book about the lynching of Civil Rights workers to a bloody, murderful saga of child abuse, outsiderness, and general psychosis - tis no ...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. With as much as I read, it is nice to come across a "one of a kind" read that doesn't feel like anything else you have read. This book certainly fits the bill and I highly recommend it...WITH A WARNING!! This is a dark and disturbing tale about a young, abused girl named Roberta who is on a psychotic road trip with her homicidal father after leaving the equally troubling home of abusive mother. There are NO NICE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK. That said, what is truly remarkable about the bo ...more
Jenny Donahue
First off, Lynda Barry is fucking awesome. Watch her speak on youtube. Why is that the people who create the most disturbing shit are the people who seem the most optimistic, happy, and stable? They are onto something.

My art school grad student teacher had us reading quite a few graphic novels with intense material. I judged Cruddy by the cover. I expected it to be bland and depressing like the girl.. thing.. person on the cover. Depressing, it was. But somehow Barry managed to make depressing
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Nathanael Hall
Originally released in 1999 and, judging solely from the voluminous amount of new reviews it still inspires on this site, still as important now as it was then. It's the kind of book that makes you want to try writing a screenplay. The kind of book you can't imagine how to actually go about recommending it to your girlfriend. The kind of book that gives you an idea about how to make a better ending for your novel.

I am so passionate about this book that I've created an unofficial soundtrack for
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christa
Words and phrases from my friend Jodi's review of the novel Cruddy by Lynda Barry that made it absolutely mandatory that I read it stat:

"Slaughterhouse."
"... bodies left in their wake."
"Horrifying."
"Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach."
And the ultimate deal sealer:
"There were paragraphs I had to skip over because the descriptions of slaughter and dead bodies were too graphic for me. In fact, my stomach jumps a little and I shiver just thinking about them. Blech."

"Sold!" I wrote in the
...more
Anna Springer
Try this one back to back with Crime & Punishment. I think it's one of the smartest novels written. If you've spent life around a bunch of violence, deception, depression, and perverse pleasures that come in-between heartbreaking let-downs, you'll like it. Otherwise you'll think it's "over the top" or "depressing". Which means you're lucky, in some ways, and unlucky in others, but your therapy bills might be lower than those of us who think this is the Great American Novel.
Jason Estrin
This is the very first case of 'don't judge a book by its cover' that I have been affiliated with. A roommate had a dogeared and water damaged copy laying on a stack of magazines and every time I passed it I added another layer of resentment for the book. My right hand, of its own accord, grabbed it off the magazine stack as I walked outside for a smoke. First sentences are said to sell or destroy a book. I will type Lynda Barry's sentence so you too can move beyond the cover and get hooked like ...more
Korynn
A book that made me feel physically ill. Every description of every person, place or thing in this book is purposefully described in the most repulsive and disgusting manner. The narrative is terribly worrisome. We have a teen, Roberta who desires to escape, whether by death or drugs, as she lives in an abusive household in a highly unappealing town. No one is described in a manner that makes them appealing or trustworthy. If this book was purposefully written to be an antithesis of all the teen ...more
Megan
wish i had read this when i was preteen! blows judy blume out of the water.

notes upon rereading July 2014: loved this even more the second time around. am disgusted/impressed by the level of cruddiness in this book: every page delivers some description of decay, rot, corrosion, violence, crud. it is a vivacious narrative too, warm and bright and very very funny. a wild, devastating book with much heart. masterpiece of coming-of-age literature.
Chriso
Honestly, I can barely put into words how amazing this book is. I always adored Lynda Barry's work but this came out and it's like she destroyed and reinvented herself with every turn of the page. It's a truly amazing, chilling, dark, wonderful, upsetting book.
Corey
I can't think of another novel like this. The voice is perfectly tuned and dazzling in places and the story is compelling, to say the least. It may be a small masterpiece but it was a little too dark for me. Call me sensitive. It's a wild ride down a black road.
Twodogs333
Wow! This book was such a waste of my time. It was like listening to a severely drunk/ drugged up person spewing their BS story of their life gone awry. I read it to the end, but I wish I could have my time back!
Leslie
The other day I heard an uptalking coed describe a community garden as “like, the most epic place I’ve ever seen.” I could easily describe the landscape of Cruddy on the same terms. It is epic. It would translate easily into a silver screen gem. It is apocalyptic and brutal.

The story shifts between two time periods: 1971 (our narrator is 16 years old) and 1966 (our narrator is 11). At eleven, Roberta is on the lam with her father—a murderer who self-identifies as “Navy” and “Slaughter House.” Bo
...more
Leanna
I disliked this book not because it was poorly written (it wasn't). I disliked it because it was so gosh-darn disturbing! This author is clearly very talented--her book creates a consistently weird world, in terms of dialogue, atmosphere, and character. It felt like a real and very terrible place, but by real, I mean it felt authentic--reality itself felt slippery, as some of the events and tropes fell almost into a kind of gothic surrealism. So the book was structured, crafted, yet still felt o ...more
Lilly G
I would give this a 3.75, just to be technical.

I agree with Susie's review that this book is written SO precisely. The language and the character nuances are unforgettable. But that was my problem with it- it took me so deeply into the most disturbing world a novel has offered me in recent years. And every so often I had to remind myself that it was a female telling the story (read and you'll see what it means). So while I loved the writing, the darkness of the book was troublesome for me. You e
...more
tee
Woah, this woman sure can write. One of the most unique books that I have ever read and I can't believe she isn't more widely recognised for her talents. I read it all day and all night and for most of it, I was thinking "this book is the BEST" but by the time I Finished, I'd kind of lost a bit of interest - whether this is the book's fault, or mine for not having a life and reading it all in one go, who knows.

Barry's writing is intense. The story of Roberta, a girl who has these crazy adventur
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Patrice
I don't think anything could have prepared me for this book. I had no idea where the direction of this story would go. This is a scary, deep, twisted, bizarre, and intriguing read.

Lynda Barry is a brilliant writer and Roberta Rohbeson is a character for the ages.

Roberta has many names, and the structure of this novel goes between two narratives. The narratives jump from the world of Roberta as a teenage girl, who spends most of the time high on acid (?), etc. and the life of Clyde (also Robert
...more
Jocelyn
This novel is by no means a life changing book, but it is a good (and quick) read.

Lynda Barry takes the reader on an emotional journey through the eyes of a scarred 16-year-old girl with a dark childhood of abuse. This pseudo-diary weaves between flashbacks and stream-of-consciousness narrative to describe our narrator's cruddy life. This book is equal parts writing and plot. In fact, Barry proves herself as a very, very talented writer with creative writing and an explicit storyline. If you cam
...more
Arlene Allen
I would give this no stars if I could. This is the ONLY book I ever hated. We had it in the young adult section of our library and I insisted it be moved. I have heard people say that this reflects teens' real life and feelings, but I have worked with kids for 20 years now (and have a teen myself at home) and I never met any kid whose dad was a murderer, who watched people put through a meat grinder or see human eyeballs hanging from a ceiling fan. The book is gruesome, violent, and pointless. T ...more
Laura Rucker
It was an amazing book from the first page to the last. 16 year old Roberta is telling the readers of her diary/suicide note about her hellish road trip with her father five years before. Barry is a genius at spinning the most horrific detail with a threads of humor and the macabre. Strangely enough, what I took away from this novel is the feeling of how our culture doesn't value experience as much as it used to, I think to our detriment. So many strive to fit into these narrow parameters of wha ...more
Meg
I was captivated and disturbed by this story, written by one of my favorite cartoonists. I heard Lynda Barry speak on MPR in the Talking Volumes series and fell in love with her humor and passion for art and story-telling. She completely occupies her protagonist and had me convinced that she'd been a teenage murderer. The desolation of the landscapes she describes and the desperation of the characters who occupy them combined into one really gut-wrenching read. This from a cartoonist! Granted, h ...more
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Lynda Barry is an American cartoonist and author, perhaps best known for her weekly comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek.
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“Dear Anyone Who Finds This, Do not blame the drugs.” 64 likes
“No matter what, expect the unexpected. And whenever possible BE the unexpected.” 62 likes
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