The Good Times Are
written and illustrated by
2006 Open Books--Open Minds Common Book
"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. "
After publishing the novel, The Good Times Are Killing Me, Lynda Barry scripted the story as a play. It was staged off Broadway in New York City in 1991 at Second Stage on the Upper West Side and then at the Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village. According to Eva Resnikova, theater critic at the National Review, it was a "...beautifully written, sensitively observed first-person account of one crucial summer in the life of a girl on the cusp of adolescence."