06 May 2009

"The Collected Strangers in Paradise" Volume One by Terry Moore

The Collected Strangers in Paradise, Volume One
Terry Moore
Date of Publication: June 1996 (fifth printing)
Cover Price: $6.95
96 pages

You may recall one of my reading objectives for this year was to read Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise.  Like Jeff Smith's Bone, I'd heard for years how great this title was/is and just never took the time to investigate it.  Well, while at the Great Escape for Free Comic Book Day 2009, I found a used copy of The Collected Strangers in Paradise, Volume One for $3.99.  I read it in a single sitting and really enjoyed being introduced to Moore's characters and situations.

The story revolves around roommates Katchoo and Francine.  Katchoo is a man-hating artist; Francine has spent 364 sex-free days with boyfriend Freddie.  Freddie simply cannot take the abstainence nature of their relationship and breaks up with her on their anniversary.  Adding insult to injury, Francine catches him with another woman, and proceeds to have a mental breakdown, which incites the volatile Katchoo.

Somewhere in all this, Katchoo meets David, a nice guy whom she simply fails to chase away despite her best efforts.  Whether David thinks a relationship will develop or simply enjoys her personality isn't clear.  David seems to be grounded, relative at least to the insanity of the two leading women.

Moore's characters are perfectly normal people with eccentric personalities.  One easily pictures this as a TV series (though, in true indie fashion, one also doubts Moore would ever consent to develop such a series).  The temptation is to characterize Strangers in Paradise as chick lit, but that would be too dismissive.  Any time a story is interesting and its characters compelling, you have something worth reading--and that's just what Strangers in Paradise is.

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