Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TT #11 For Better or Worse




My favorite comic strip is Lynn Johnston's For Better or Worse. I have enjoyed it for twenty years or so, at least since our son grew up and moved us past the Calvin and Hobbes stage.
We have raised our family with John, Elly, Michael, Elizabeth, and April Patterson. I am saddened to know that the story-line, as I have loved it, will end this fall. In this TT, I want to list the things I like about For Better or Worse.


  1. John and Elly Patterson are about the same age as we are. He is a dentist; she, a book lover.

  2. Their two older children, Michael and Elizabeth, are about the same age as our children, but we had the girl first.

  3. The Patterson's have a later-in-life child, April, but we did not.

  4. John and Elly have maintained a very traditional home. John is the primary breadwinner, but Elly has worked much of the time. Ditto, here.

  5. The story-line included grandparents who are invloved with the family. Same here.

  6. Michael's friends when he was growing up had issues. Lawrence, born out-of-wedlock, revealed his homosexuality; Gordon, a victim of child abuse and neglect, couldn't go to college, but he has succeeded in his automobile business and with his family. We didn't deal with issues so difficult, but we learned along with the Pattersons.

  7. Elizabeth dealt with sexual harassment/attempted rape at her work. She grew into an independent young woman, which is how we wanted to raise our daughter.

  8. April is a teen now, with interests in music and preparing for college. She is a loyal friend to a diverse group, and she is not afraid to show her serious side.

  9. Gramma Marian died some years ago; Grampa Jim married Iris and is now recovering from a stroke. We have experienced declining health among our parents.

  10. Grampa Jim helped April discover her love of music. Our children didn't have grampas, but they had grammas who loved them fiercely.

  11. Elizabeth has exerted her independence by going away from home to teach. She has had several boyfriends as she has refined her qualification list, and she is now engaged to Anthony, her high school boyfriend who is divorced with a child.

  12. John has semi-retired from his dental practice, and he and Elly have bought a smaller house just down the street. We have a retirement looming in our house.

  13. Son Michael, a successful writer, has moved in the Patterson home with his own family. Like him, our children are now "happy, healthy, married, and employed with health insurance" for which we are grateful.


I amazed that a cartoonist can communicate so much information in only four frames per day. Ms. Johnston has managed to create characters with whom we can identify, and she has tapped social, personal, and communication problems with a tenderness touched with realism. My morning cup of coffee just won't be the same without the Pattersons.

Have any of you met them?



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16 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

Isn't it amazing that you can create an entire family story from a comic strip. Just goes to show the versatility and complexity of this art form.

Melli said...

True that! I've always enjoyed that comic myself - though Family Circus was more in line with our own!

Journeywoman said...

I too love For Better and For Worse. (liked Paul more than Anthony, but oh well!)

Lori said...

Hey, you forgot to mention their dogs. If I'm not mistaken ( I read a lot of strips), one of their dogs died years ago. I almost stopped reading after that. But I still enjoy them. It's also interesting how they've aged (smile).

Picturing of Life said...

I have no idea what you are talking about :D Maybe because I live in Europe, so i never watch them

Mine in here Thanks

anthonynorth said...

The power of imagination. Great.

Susan said...

Kay--I look forward to your 13 every
Thursday--have often read For Better or Worse and more often than not identified with them...I also identify with Cathy--and lately...uh-oh...also her mother!

EHT said...

Wow, I need to check that comic out. I don't believe I've seen it. I lead such a sheltered life sometimes especially during the school year.

Thanks for visiting History Is Elementary!

Darla said...

I always used to like that strip when we got a daily paper. Haven't read it since then, though. :(

Hootin' Anni said...

I love the strip too. But I did NOT know it was going to end! Now I'm totally bummed.

My T 13 is shared, I hope you can find time to stop by if you haven't already! happy thursday!!

Ivette said...

Happy TT! I'm not much for comic strip but your list was very interesting and had me wondering about what the comic strip was like before it stopped. Hope to see you at my 3rd edition about J.R. Ward at Talk About My Favorite Authors blog.

Chelle Y. said...

I have not read her work in years. It was amazing to me that the kids in it actually "grew up," where as ones like "Family Circus" stayed little forever.

Why is she ending it?

Kristi said...

Thanks for visiting today. I love this post because I actually posted the Sunday FBOFW comic two weeks ago on my post. It was the one with mom yelling at the kids at bedtime, and then after they fell asleep, crying to them and being sorry for being so grumpy. The comic hit so close to home that I almost started crying. I identify with the dealings with the grandkids.

Reynie said...

I think my entire life runs in line with Dilbert. Sad but true!

the teach said...

Sorry kay, I don't know the Pattersons... I'm going to look them up on the Web! :D

Out and About in Dubai said...

now that i'm out of the states, i don't get the sunday paper anymore with all the comics - reading your list remaindered me of it and now i miss it. i liked For Better or Worse too!