I’m not sure what made me suddenly remember this book, but I suddenly wanted to read it only to find that while there is still a pile of vintage Lynda Barry sitting in the grown up comics section way up high, this one was missing! Alas! So here I am singing its virtues to all of you instead.
I discovered Lynda Barry’s short comics filled with teen angst and hard truths when I was a freshman in high school. I used to clip every single one and paste them up on my wall week after week. This collection, in which oldest sister Maybonne has her first love and basically gets used and trashed, always resonated with my adolescent self. Maybonne’s life is hard. Her family is poor, her sister is a pain in the neck, her younger brother has some serious issues. In letters and diary entries, she spills her guts in this graphic novel about everything she sees, even the horrible, embarrassing stuff. Maybonne sees drinking, creepy guys, and girls who stab you in the back. There’s something so honest and real about these roughly drawn comics.
These are definitely for older teens, but in the waves of new graphic novels for teens, especially for teen girls, I think it’s time to see a new generation connect with these. They’re out of print, but I wish they’d be reissued. My Perfect Life is my favorite place to start.