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Book Review: On the Spin Cycle by Wendy Stout

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On The Spin Cycle, by Wendy Stout, is a book comprised of Frazzled, the popular comic strip originated by Stout. The individual panels tell the story of Dotty, a thirty something single parent who tries to live every day with varying amounts of success. Considering how much content can be related to real life, it’s no wonder Stout has so many readers.

Dotty is perhaps best described as a working mother trying to make ends meet. While neither her daughter Lisa nor her son Hank wants for basic needs, the problem of finances would be helped greatly if Rick would only pay Dotty the child support he owes. Unfortunately, her ex husband decides singleness again means not having the responsibilities of rearing kids even if he helps bring them into being.

Although not every reader will be in the same situation, each person is going to understand life comes with tribulations. No hardship is unique to an individual.

Stout draws people in with engaging storylines and whimsical drawings. Simple lines create her characters so they are no different from anyone else. The illustrations come to life with soft, pastel colors which gently jump from each page. This is a short but sweet page turner from beginning to end.

Dotty and her family are not the only characters in this collection of comic strips. The organization of how they get put together makes it a book. Etta is Dotty’s best friend, who is available with a listening ear and a willingness to help keep Dotty out of trouble (or swim in the muck alongside her).

My personal favorite character is Sandy, the therapist. She just might be the one voice of sanity among the entire group. Too bad her client is not too keen on listening.

Not only are there relationship issues to contend with, headers get to see Dotty at work. Russ is the officemate who helps her with the issues a job makes, including having a boss. They have an easy camaraderie which is enjoyable to watch.

Clearly, Stout knows her potential audience well. She communicates effectively with every panel, and sticks to basic themes. Anyone who picks this book up will not be able to put it down until the last page.

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