In Cruddy, a novel by Lynda Barry, it seems like almost every ghastly thing that can happen does happen to the heroine, a 16-year-old named Roberta. Though the plot is more like a horror movie than a coming of age tale, there are spots of humor and it is a very readable book. I've loved Lynda Barry and her comics for years, and the tone and some of the themes of her comics are felt in the book. I worry about her, though. Where does all this darkness come from? I hope writing the book helped her expunge some of it. But then again--as Maria says--don't be afraid of the dark. Yay!