Collected from the strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, which was serialized in alternative weeklies across the continent, My Perfect Life captures the moment when Lynda Barry finds the perfect balance in longer-form storytelling between the bellyaching laughs and the brutal reality checks. Along with the re-released edition of Come Over Come Over, this collection continues to spotlight the life of teenager Maybonne Mullen. She suffers through the utterly relatable insults of junior high and the excruciating embarrassment caused by her little sister, Marlys. Hovering in the background, however, is a broken home, parents struggling with addiction, a grandmother who takes her granddaughters from the diverse big city to a bewilderingly bland small town.
Yet fitting into the new school and surroundings is, of course, paramount to a young teenager. Maybonne begins September full of life and excitement. As the school year progresses, she experiences bullying, her first boyfriend, family drama, drinking, and more. The book ends with Maybonne withdrawn and jaded as the reality of her world outweighs the magic.