Home Sweat Home, the 2008 For Better Or For Worse collection by Lynn Johnston is the best one in the last three or four years.
This collection meets the high standards and rises to the expectations fans of this comic strip have rightfully established.
The past few collections featured stories that ran a bit too long such as Elizabeth's mixed up love life or been a bit maudlin or on the preachy message side -such as just about anything having to do with April at school.
In Home Sweat Home you clearly get the feeling Johnston allowed the Pattersons to get on with their lives without getting in the way so much.
There is a lot going on in this For Better Or For Worse Collection and events move at a much quicker pace than in the last three or four collections. This keeps the reader really interested and avoids rather repeated story lines long-time fans of the series could sometimes detect.
In this For Better Or For Worse Collection a lot of the attention is focused on the kids growing up. April is turning sixteen and facing the issues common to that age. This time around though they are not a simple echo of what Elizabeth went through.
There are moments about Elizabeth's love life but they are not as wishy-washy as in the past few collections.
Mike and Deanna have to cope with being the parents of two children, living in a too small apartment, and losing everything in a fire. There is good news on the way though.
In one of the most inventive story lines, Grandpa Patterson and Iris deal with the aphasia that followed his stroke. These strips are the most touching and original of this very strong collection.
Home Sweat Home also features a major change in the Patterson family. Nothing dramatic mind you but a change just the same.
If Senior's Discount or She's Turning Into One Of Them hinted that Lynn Johnston was winding the strip down, the 2008 FBOFW collection suggests there is a lot more to come.
How good is Home Sweat Home? In the past, I would give my copy to my sister, a big fan of this strip. This time, it is going to be a lot harder to part with it.
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