Novel Approach: Cartoonist offers relatable laughs and advice in 'Barely Functional Adult'

“I spent my whole childhood wishing I were older and now I'm spending my adulthood wishing I were younger.” —Ricky Schroder

At 18 we’re considered adults, which is kind of funny when you think about it given that the previous day you’re viewed as a child and at 18 you’re allowed to do mature things like vote or enlist in the military, but you can’t order a beer at the local bar. When we’re children we believe that the adults have all the answers, only to discover upon our passage into the realm of adulthood that everyone is winging it. Some people are certainly better at being an adult than others, they’re able to deal with the daily swell of chaos without having their canoe flip over...and others are constantly pulling themselves back into their little boat. Our latest read provides readers with the author’s attempts at becoming a mature adult through her funny and relatable cartoons.

Barely Functional Adult by Meichi Ng

No one you gives a guidebook on how to become an adult, there isn’t a secret handshake and no matter how old you are filing your taxes is a tedious experience. Meichi Ng offers her experience wading through the churning waters of adulthood and instead of offering answers she delivers readers page after page of laughs in her book “Barely Functional Adult.”

Ng explores going to therapy, relocating and making friends as an adult, moving on from past relationships, and career goals in her personal essay/cartoon hybrid that is sure to get a chuckle from even the most severe folks. Whether she’s sharing tidbits about her alternative pet choices or wandering around with wild cows Ng skillfully shares a silly story that offers a poignant bit of life advice. And she does it all without coming across as preachy or condescending.

Ng’s tales about feeling lost or “a little bit broken” are incredibly relatable for anyone who has ever wondered what they’re doing as an adult or questioned whether or not they’re “adulting” properly.

With the gifting season upon us this book might make for a particularly fun gift for readers of any age, but it will resonate more so with the 20’s and 30’s age groups.

From the book jacket...

From the creator of Barely Functional Adult, a painfully relatable webcomic with over 130k followers on Instagram, comes a never-before-seen collection of incriminating short stories about exes, murder, friendship, therapy, anxiety, Hufflepuff, sucking at things, freaking out about things, calming down momentarily, melodrama, wrinkles, pettiness, and other wonderful delights.

Wielding her trademark balance of artful humor, levity, and heartbreaking introspection, Meichi Ng’s indisputably relatable collection of short stories holds a mirror to our past, present, and future selves. Featuring a swaddled Barely Functional Adult as its protagonist who says all the things we think but dare not say, this book is equal parts humorous and heartbreaking as it spans a spectrum of topics from imposter syndrome, therapy, friendships, first loves, letting go of exes, to just trying to find your purpose in the world. Prepare to excitedly shove this book in your friend’s face with little decorum as you shout, “THIS IS SO US!”

In this beautiful, four-color collection compiled completely of never-before-seen content, Meichi perfectly captures the best and worst of us in every short story, allowing us to weep with pleasure at our own fallibility.

If you enjoy…

Readers looking for more humor in their lives might also enjoy “Strange Planet” by cartoonist Nathan W. Pyle. The book follows a pair of aliens trying to understand human life and puzzling over the everyday elements of humanity.