Saturday, January 13, 2007

For Better or for Worse

I normally don’t read the comics. Something just seemed to deflate the cartoon balloon when Gary Larson stopped doing The Far Side and when we saw the last of Calvin and Hobbes, well, it wasn’t just the same reading the comics at all, at all. But there is still one daily comic I still enjoy a great deal and that one is For Better or for Worse by Lynn Johnston. Now I don’t know if this gets published in US newspapers as she is a cartoonist here in Canada.

The premise of the comic is a family, the Pattersons– the husband/father John is a dentist, the wife/mother is Elly - well I’m not quite sure what she is. She did own a bookstore and then sold it and I think she has gone back to school. The oldest son Michael is a writer who is married with two young children of his own, the oldest daughter Elizabeth is a teacher and the youngest daughter April is still in high school.

What really sets this comic strip apart and for me makes it hands above so many out there, is it is so true to life. I feel like I really know this family. They age just like we do. When I first started reading this strip way back when – Michael was just finishing up high school and on this way to University. I thought it was kind of cool because the cartoonist sent him to the University of Western Ontario here in London.

Over the years she has tackled many relevant topics. I winced with Elly when she found out ‘Surprise!’ she was pregnant with April much later in life. I have watched sadly as a few beloved pets of the Pattersons have died. One of Michaels best friends is gay and I read along as he slowly began coming out and telling people. Lynn Johnston’s Elly has also tackled the death of her mother and the sudden remarriage of her older father. Some storylines I kind of skim over and some hold my attention.

I don’t get the city paper anymore. I didn’t really see the point as they halved the editorial section, my favourite part and got rid of a couple of very good advice columns. I kind of lost track of the Pattersons until I started working again and they get the paper at work. I’ve become very caught up in the latest story line. Elizabeth, the older sister, taught way up north for a couple of years. She loved teaching there, the close knit community, and the children she had come to love, but became homesick and wanted to come home again. But while she was up there she met this young native police officer and they fell in love. It’s been a long distance relationship as she moved back home and he was still up north, but planning on putting in for a transfer so they could be together.

The latest had Elizabeth visiting Paul up north and when she ran into another friend who’s a pilot and he was flying up there, she hitched a ride with him so she could surprise Paul a day early.

I noticed how much this story line has hooked me in when the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning was I could hardly wait to get to work and read For Better or For Worse and see what was going to happen between Elizabeth and Paul because I just had a bad feelings about this. You see, just before she left for home, Elizabeth met her replacement who just happened to be a young woman that Paul knew from when he was growing up.

And then I got to thinking what was I going to do on Saturday since I don’t get the paper. I HAD to find out what happened next.

And then I thought – “Kristie – this is a COMIC STRIP here. A comic strip. How many people rush to work so that they can read a COMIC STRIP?

But thank goodness for the power of Google because I found a few web sites where I could read it without having to go out in the cold winter (although not as cold here as in Ames' neck of the woods - now there weather is NASTY!) to find out what happens next.


And I was right. Poor Elizabeth is getting her heart broken.


It really is a good comic strip though and almost makes up for the loss of my dear Calvin and his favourite stuffed tiger Hobbes

'til later


Lori said...

We do get this comic strip here in the states, and it's a great one, you're right. Dang that Paul, anyway...

Kristie (J) said...

I Know!!! The least he could have done is come and see Elizabeth instead of making her go all the way up there only to find out he was two timing her. The dog! And I think she'll end up with Anthony (think that's his name) in the end. I mean he's been in love with her forever.

Megan Frampton said...

I've seen that one, too, but haven't followed it.

My son LOVES Calvin and Hobbes, btw, and his hair kinda sticks up the way Calvin's does.

Thanks for sharing all your ups and downs, Kristie, I read all your posts and don't always comment, but I am reading them and like to feel I know what you're up to. You are a strong, good person, and I'm glad you've got your family so close (physically and emotionally) to you.

Bob & Muffintop said...

I'm not surprised he hooked up with someone else. She decided to return to her parents' city & I didn't think Paul would go for that. Elizabeth passed over the pilot & Anthony married the French girl.. although they're divorced now.

Her timing is off. Now she's living with her parents. Jeez louise. Give the poor girl a break.

Anonymous said...

Too funny that you should blog about this! I've been watching that comic strip for weeks, as I got caught up in Elizabeth's "romance" story line. I go to the actual website every day for my fix, as it's not featured in any local newspaper out here on the west coast.

I also am hooked on Mother Goose & Grimm (
mostly because it usually gives me a laugh-out-loud moment, and it's brightly colored. With all the dreary weather out here lately, I need both the laughter & the cheery colors!

— Bonz

Anonymous said...

Looks like we're getting winter tomorrow morning.

I haven't read the comics in... shall I admit ages. We get the little local paper and they don't carry the comics. I always enjoyed "For better or for worse".


Kristie (J) said...

Farmwifetwo: I was delighted when I saw that I could read it on-line! It really is like reading about a family you've come to know over the years and you root for them in their trials and tribulations. I really missed it there for a while.

Bonz: Isn't it good? I'm glad you found it too! And the good thing about finding it on-line is that it's in colour as opposed to the black/white one that runs in the paper. April really is an interesting character when they get to her too. And I like Mother Goose & Grims but I don't think they carry it here anymore. And I feel for you with the weather out there :(

Bookwormon: *grinning in delight* I know - poor Elizabeth. Even though Anthony is divorced now - and a single father - that's kind of a cool story line, he's been in love with her forever. And he did save her from that fellow employee that attacked her a while ago. I'm thinking Elizabeth will *suddenly* discover him again. Although I do wish he'd shave the stupid mustache. And the Patterson house must be pretty full. Isn't Michael & Deanne and the kids staying there too since their apartment burned?

Megan: I really do miss Calvin & Hobbes. That's cute that you son loves it so much too. I read a bit about the authur that was kind of interesting. He hated the attention he got because of the strip and quit writing it because he really is a recluse. And you should give FBOFW a try :) I admit there are sections I kind of skip - like Elly's father and John's vehicles - but the storylines about the three children are always so interesting.
And I'm so glad for my family and friends too!

Tara Marie said...

1. For Better or For Worse is my favorite comic. I love watching the characters grow and change. It's the only one I read. We don't get the newspaper delivered anymore(read it on-line) I made a point of searching out FBOFW.

2. Paul is a dawg, but then if she was really committed she wouldn't have come home. Think she'll hook up with Anthony, though I think she may deserve better, that Therese was a trip how clueless was he to hook up with her in the first place.

3. Calvin and Hobbs is by far the favorite comic in our house. My husband has every book, and mourns the end of the comic. Love those derranged snowmen.

Suisan said...

We love Calvin and Hobbes so much (boxed set, deluxe edition) that our brindle dog is named Hobbes. (Tiger stripes? Get it?)

Never got into FBOFW, but I can see its apeal

ReneeW said...

Kristie: I was a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side. I also love FBOFW but I haven't kept track of it for a few years. I need to catch up I see. I remember when the family dog died and it was wonderfully done.

Anonymous said...

Just doing a quick check in before the power goes out again :) Out last night 4 to 5:30 and today 7 to noon. And still more freezing rain.

My girlfriend in Ridgetown has only gotten rain - lucky :) Did you get ice or snow??

Wish it was snow, could take the boys out.

Stay warm and safe.


Kristie (J) said...

Farmwifetwo: We got freezing rain. It took a while to scrape off the car this morning but the drive to work wasn't too bad. I think it was worse outside the city. It's snowing now though.

Renee: They are all excellent aren't they. And the thing about FBOFW is I don't think it would take too long to pick up the story (not unliked soaps *g*) And she did do a wonderful job when Farley died.

Suisan: There's something so appealing about Calvin & Hobbes isn't there? Such an imagination that Calvin had.

Tara: The thing that gets me most about Paul isn't that he found someone else, it's that he didn't break up with her by going there - no he waited until she got all the way up there. I mean after reading today's strip - the guy in the restaurant is right - it's just the way that Paul did it that sticks in my craw *g*. And of course the romantic inside me that looks for romance in all things - even comics - is hurting for Elizabeth :-(

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth did leave Paul hanging when she left the northern community, AFTER he agreed to transfer to be nearer her. She didn't love him enough to stay and solidify their relationship. She expected him to make all the sacrifices.

So, Elizabeth enabled Paul's journey to meet his true mate, as the wise man said. That was a lovely thought.

What a drag that Lynn Johnson is retiring. I DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE before reading the strip in the morning!

Kristie (J) said...

Anonymous: that was a nice thought wasn't it? And I really didn't see how Paul would be happy when his roots were so deep in Northern Ontario. I just wish she didn't get so hurt though. What can I say - it's the romance lover in me *g*