I’ve been a fan of Strangers in Paradise for a while, though it’s taken me a long time to get around to finishing off the series. During that time, I’ve gone through the ups and downs of the relationships that bind Katchoo, Francine, David, and Casey together. This collection covers the final section of the entire story, and while I liked the way it wrapped up, I was a little aggravated with the way the author wrapped it up. That may not make sense, so let me explain, but be warned, the following comments will be spoileriffic.
Read further at your own risk.
Several years ago, my wife and I watched Monster’s Ball, and weren’t all that impressed with it. For one thing, the story forced the two main characters together by eliminating all the other people in their lives that would have prevented it: Halle Berry’s character’s husband was executed, and then her son was hit and killed by a car; Billy Bob Thornton’s son committed suicide, and then he committed his father to a nursing home when he tried to get in the way of the relationship. I got the same feeling off of the wrap-up for Strangers in Paradise. David was terminally ill; Casey was in love with David, but wound up being unable to have children due to her teenage anorexia (which, I should add, had never been mentioned in the series until now); Francine’s husband cheated on her, and then her brother-in-law was killed, meaning she was free to come to terms with her feelings for Katchoo; Katchoo agreed to have David’s child, and Francine had been having difficulty conceiving. So it made perfect sense for them to get together at the end of the story.
Now, it makes sense, and I have to give credit to the author for pulling all that together and making it work. I just felt like it was another situation where the characters were forced into a situation where they would finally work. And maybe that’s the point of both stories, that when people are meant to be together, the world will arrange for that to happen, no matter what else happens in their life. In one sense, that’s a sweet sentiment; in another, it’s scary as hell, since it means that everyone else in their lives is disposable.
I was glad to see the series finish with Francine and Katchoo together — it was really the only way the series should have ended — but then again, it would have been effective if the author had gone against what seemed to be inevitable. I imagine the SiP fans would have lynched him if he hadn’t, though.
Anyway, it’s definitely a series worth reading. I highly recommend it.