she was one of the funniest and most distinctive comic book characters ever created,
this rosy-cheeked little girl with the bell-shaped dress, the lightbulb-shaped head, and the hair concocted of meatballs and bedsprings. She was tough. She was tender. She got spanked. She cried. She fought. She splurged. Like her readers, she was a real kid. Not a child . . . a kid!

But was she really happy? Was her simple world, like the Fifties themselves, a facade? Did the sunny suburban games mask a turbulent reality whose pain would ultimately erupt to the surface?

In short, while we thought we were laughing at theadventures of carefree innocents, were we really sharing...