I grew up with these characters, and they hold a very special place for me. I have always felt that this simple daily comic strip, looked at as a whole run, becomes a beautiful, hilarious, poignant portrait of an authentically and archetypically American youth.
And I thought maybe part of that was bias from just my nostalgia for my childhood and the 90s, but I was very happy to discover how untrue that is.
My little brother turned 7 recently, and between the fact that 7 is a special birthday in my eyes and that fact that he had just gotten some great Christmas gifts two weeks earlier, I decided to get him this as a gift that would keep on giving for years to come.
When he first saw that the big, heavy, exciting mystery package was just books, he looked utterly disappointed. I saw that and explained to him why I chose the book, and how much I had loved it as a kid, and that he should give it a try even if some of the writing was still a little hard for him to read.
And nothing could have ever made me happier than when he opened the book, started reading from the beginning, and found himself cracking up so hard that for the rest of the night he couldn't put it down, dragging it all around New York City, trying to scrounge up enough light to read by in the car.
And after just seeing him several weeks later for the first time since the gift, I am overjoyed and proud to say he's *still* dragging that absurdly huge book around everywhere, finding anyplace to put it down and read it as soon as he's not on the move. My mom says he's been reading it every night before bed, waking up early to read some in the morning, and when I saw him he was already over 200 pages into the first book.
So there you have it. He doesn't understand all the big words without a little help, and some of the jokes do fly over his head, but he seems to think it's the funniest thing he's ever seen.