cover image Monkey Food: The Complete ""I Was Seven in '75"" Collection

Monkey Food: The Complete ""I Was Seven in '75"" Collection

Ellen Forney. Fantagraphics Books, $12.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-362-1

Affectionate and gently ironic, Forney's popular, Seattle-based autobiographical comics strip, ""I Was Seven in '75,"" celebrates all the wacky details of growing up middle American in the era of disco. This collection of Forney's work reads like a family scrapbook, recounting the painfully funny trials of Forney, her post-hippie parents and her freckled older brother. Here are true stories about parents who throw pot parties and take the family to spend the summer at a nudist colony. With wry, matter-of-fact nostalgia and a slap-dash, expressive cartooning style, the author recounts raw-food fads and getting caught reading Judy Blume's steamy novel Forever. Forney's own work sometimes takes a page out of Blume's classics, recounting the pleasures and trials of preadolescence. She also has a knack for pointing out the cleverness (bean-bag chairs, the Bionic Woman) and silliness (black-and-white shag carpet) in the inventions of the times. Sprinkled throughout are one-page illustrated treatises on favorite pastimes (e.g., the ""Pull My Finger"" fart game) and fashion Dos (rainbow pants, feathered hair)--there apparently were no fashion Don'ts in the '70s. Forney's ""just yesterday"" storytelling style exactly captures the weird fun of those chaotic, colorful times. (Dec.)