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The Freddie Stories

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  889 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Here is the first new collection of Lynda Barry's nationally syndicated cartoon strip in more than five years. Lynda Barry, creator of the 'My Life' and 'Ernie Pook's Comeek' comic strips, is syndicated in over 40 alternative weekly newspapers across the country. The Freddie Stories—featuring sisters Marlys and Maybonne, and their spunky little brother Freddie--c ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 9th 2002 by Sasquatch Books (first published 1999)
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Jan Philipzig
Lynda Barry's artwork looks rather crude at first glance, so I never actually read one of her books despite all the praise they have received. What a mistake! As it turns out, every bleak line and every blunt sentence in The Freddie Stories flawlessly evokes the tormented perspective of its protagonist and narrator, Freddie.

Having been neglected and abused for years by almost all the people around him, Freddie finally cracks when he reaches adolescence. Barry's portrayal of Freddie's gradual des
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphical
Barry's depiction of childhood is a terrifying world. I forget that between readings. I recall the quirky beauty of her illustrations, her sly humor, and her obvious affection for her characters. But, make no mistake, Freddie lives in a nightmare world. Among his ordeals: framed for a crime by an adolescent psychopath, constantly being bullied, taunted with homophobic slurs, shamed by a terrible mother, wrongly assigned to special education. It's no wonder that creative, sensitive Freddie kinda ...more
Elizabeth A
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphix, 2015
I am a huge fan of the author, and this graphic novel does not disappoint. This coming of age story is told from Freddie's point of view, via a collections of comic strips - each double page moves the story forward. While many complain about her sketchy illustration style, they work really well for this dark, and so very sad story. The author's unflinching look at growing up, friendship, bullying, and child abuse is raw and often gut wrenching. To say more would be spoilery. A word of caution, d ...more
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Lynda Barry is the supreme funky comic-art goddess.
Of all time.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Unforunately, I didn't get a lot out of this slice of life comic. The old, 'zine-style art was interesting, but sloppy, and I just didn't enjoy it overall, but maybe I'm the wrong audience.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing I have read by Lynda Barry that I have not loved. Her writing is always full of the unexpected, so I expect that with each book. The Freddie Stories, however, provided an unexpected level of the unexpected - even for Lynda Barry. The stories are dark, haunting, honest, tragic, and (in ways hard to describe) triumphant all at once. As a person who has worked many years in the social services system, I appreciate the rich perspective of the characters who would fall into the categ ...more
Alex V.
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I know there are those that claim to not like Lynda Barry, but I rope them in with the people that claim to not like peanut butter, in that I hear what they are saying but I don't really believe them.

This brief book is tragic and hilarious, fantastic and all too real. It entails the level of transcendence that any writer wishes they had access to. It's a tangle of words and image, as dense as a real vine hidden in the weeds of real life. You feel wrapped up in those thorny nether-vines with ethe
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
know that this is a very triggering book for childhood traumas. it is hard and good but very very hard, sometimes. actually pretty terrifying, sometimes. in the way that fantastical, terrifying things are hard because real, terrifying things are hard.

freddie and the fly, freddie and so many hurts and hard things, freddie's big heart and groovy sense of humor, how i love freddie, how scary to live in freddie's world, how scary that freddie's hard world is our mean world. i love you freddie i love
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought and read the original edition of The Freddie Stories in 1999. This new edition, published by Drawn & Quarterly, features an afterward by Barry and comics that weren't included in the original edition. These "lost" comics add an entirely new dimension to the narrative, making The Freddie Stories a richer, more complex work. I was really happy to see that some of the comics I cut out of the newspaper back in the early 90s and still have in a little envelope have found a happy more per ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A story of the emotional unraveling of a young boy raised fatherless by a hostile mother, two hapless sisters, and an extended family of harried and uncaring cousins and aunts. "The Freddie Stories" is powerful and sad, dealing with a child's mistakes, difficulties in building and maintaining friendships, and unduly harsh punishments for errors of judgment--a sense of judgment that's never been shaped by love and guidance.
Lynda Barry would be my discovery of last year (Posy Simmonds was my rediscovery) and i think i liked this one the most of all the ones i could get my hands on. probably because there is more of an obvious narrative to this collection than to the greatest!of!marlys - and some of the strips made my hair stand on end. what i really want is the absolutely everything lynda barry has ever done in one collection book.
J. Bryce
More a collection of two-page, four-panels strips, not a graphic novel, although over all it does tell a mostly-cohesive story.

Freddie's life sucks in a heart-wrenching way -- way more emotional depth to this book than you'd expect, either from a graphic novel generally, or from the child-like drawings Lynda Barry uses. Parts are chilling, other parts hilarious ... it's just like life in that way.

Highly recommended for its offkilterness.
Ian Roditi
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Places I have cried whilst reading this comic book: 1) in the bath, 2) at the Iron Rail bookstore and library (I was working there that day. It was not dignified.)
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This book needs a trigger warning.
“The Freddie Stories” by Lynda Barry is a collection of stories following nine-year old fourth grader Freddie Mullen. From the beginning, sympathy for Freddie is inevitable. His mom seems very strict, he gets teased at school, and his naïve, docile nature poses Freddie as the ultimate underdog. As the story progresses, however, sympathy turns to all out disturbance and disgust as Freddie’s story and mental health spiral more and more out of control.
The poor k
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic, uofl-senior
Weird Stuff.
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a bit harder to digest than many of Lynda Barry's cartoon compilation books, but it's well worth the time and effort to disentangle the fragmented, frantic story of Freddie from his own point of view. Any former child needs to read this book.
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
I'm sort of confused at why this book is so widely well-received. I initially found it charming but then just a bit too wayward and silly.

Clearly the artwork isn't the focus here, as it is hard to defend as effective or appealing, and though Barry keeps to a strict '4 equally spaced and sized panels per page regimen' she crops the image size to fit the height of the panel remaining after oversized all-caps text has been put in. Thank goodness for the added readability of sans-serif capitals. But
Lily Sizemore
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is noteworthy for getting new ideas on what do when to impress people, do something when you get bored or anything you could possibly want to do, because it could help you when you need tips on how to do stupid little things that might actually help in your life or situation. But it is not a good read.
The cover is so detailed and intriguing that I thought this was going to be a booked packed of interesting stories. After reading pages and pages I kept losing interest faster and faster.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Whereas the collection The Greatest of Marlys captures the spazzy wonder of childhood with entirely appropriate undertones of sadness and exclusion, The Freddie stories are much, much darker, as the sensitive Freddie lives through some true horrors growing up and one of the only occasional bright spots in his life is his sister Marlys. Freddie's demons are portrayed as often quite real and literal monsters and ghosts, and as he tries to escape into dreams of ancient creatures, Antarctica, and hi ...more
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Wow... I didn't read the back of the book, which advised those who don't like unpleasant situations to not read the book, until the end. I still would have read it, but I would have known to prepare myself. There is always this sort of bittersweet element to Lynda Barry's stories- memories of childhood emphasize the funny and the awesome, but there is always something else mentioned that throws all of those memories off- whether it be bullies, cruel mothers, or worse. Freddie had a rough time, l ...more
This book was kind of brutal. It's the story of Freddie, a misfit who is sent to live at his aunt's house for the summer. While he's there another boy sets fire to a house, killing a woman. Freddie gets part of the blame and winds up in juvie which is bad enough but then the poor kid basically has a breakdown and starts seeing flaming skulls in place of everyone's heads. His mother is wretched and abusive and no help whatsoever then the kid starts having crazy dreams. As much as I appreciate the ...more
Giovanna Forsyth
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those graphic novels that I didn't really enjoy reading, but I can begrudgingly admit that it's quite good. I hate the art. I'm not into this kind of ugly sketchy illustrative style...I tend to enjoy more polished things..but I understand that this is supposed to have a childlike scrawl about it. This book has an essence about it that I can't quite put my finger on. It is full of uncomfortable moments, so if that's not your thing...move along. I can't recommend it, and yet I can't ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: bug aficiandos, victims of bullies, troubled teenage boys
it's a good thing this one is actually called "freddie stories" so i can differentiate it from every other marlys-themed collection. this one focuses on marlys's brother, freddie, who is obsessed with bugs & maybe a little emotionally disturbed due to taunting from neighborhood bullies. the comics here are mostly about freddie, or told from his perspective, about bugs & bullies & his weird way of seeing the world. i was intrigued because i have never been a young boy & i guess mi ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Never not loving everything Lynda Barry writes. Always oddball and true. Some brutal stuff happens in this one, but the relationship between Freddie and his sister Marlys is just so deeply #1 (as Fred Milton, Beat Poodle would say).

If you haven't read any of Barry's regular comic strips featuring this family (siblings Freddie, Marlys, and Maybonne, and their cousins Arna and Arnold), you might want to start with "The Greatest of Marlys."
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very few artists are both able and willing to brave these dark, timeless, psychological spaces as genuinely and intimately as Lynda Barry. Her thoughts are emotional, brave and sometimes painful (especially so in The Freddie Stories) but when I've felt brave enough to go there with her Ive been rewarded with feeling a refreshed connection and empathy with other humans . I only gave this four stars instead of five because Cruddy still sits in the Lynda Barry throne of my heart.
Taylor Cayes
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best collection I've read of Lynda Barry's comic strips. This one has a great sense of continuity and theme. She does a great job of capturing growing up a queer boy who likes gross stuff, is misunderstood by peers and everyone around him. On an editorial note, the "lost" strips in the most recent edition are largely unnecessary. They don't fit in with the narrative of the main collection or even the style of it. They are probably better off read separately if at all.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sad, sombre, scary and sometimes hilarious, the Freddie Stories bring to life the story of that kid you might remember from elementary school who, somehow, could never fit in and was always in trouble. A kind soul in a cruel world, Freddie is everyone's victim with only his two sisters to look out for him... when and if they can.

Brilliant, like most of Barry's work.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Hadn't read this back in the day... so spooky and sad and disturbing and dark... but continues to complete and expand on these characters and their stories (that seem like a part of my life in that I feel like I've known them forever...). Nice to read the extras and Lynda Barry's afterword.
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Lynda Barry is an American cartoonist and author, perhaps best known for her weekly comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek.
More about Lynda Barry...
“Dear Blubbo, How is it going? It is fine here. My sisters are fine. Mom is usual. Everything is regular in life except I am still seeing the burning skull heads. Yesterday Mom took me to Sears for school clothes. I told my sisters I could see the people's head bones. They said DO NOT tell Mom. A guy moved a trailer onto the empty lot by our house. His skull is spectacular, many colors glowing.” 3 likes
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