Smile - Raina Telgemeier

Ah, adolescence. A time of confusing emotions, shifting friendships and finding drama in just about everything. It’s a few years of your life that are hard enough as it is, without something that screams for attention like, oh, knocking out your two front teeth.

This is, in fact, what happened to Raina Telgemeier in the sixth grade. While racing her friends after a Girl Scouts meeting, she tripped and smashed her mouth on the pavement. What followed was years of oral surgery, braces, headgear, even a retainer with fake teeth attached … and that’s just the teeth.

Raina also had all the other stuff to think about: “friends” who make fun of her, mixed feelings about boys, an obsession with “A Little Mermaid” and gradually discovering her own talents. It’s a somewhat painful book to read, both because of the orthodontics and the emotional journey. But Telgemeier balances the tears with humor. The drawings are cheerful, a semi-realistic style that occasionally shifts into hyperbole, and they match the story really well.

I certainly hope my own daughters have an easier time when they reach adolescence, but I know there are no guarantees. But at least I know of at least one book I can recommend to them when they reach it.

Note: this review was originally written for GeekDad as part of my Stories About Girls series.

Fed to jonathan's brain | January 21, 2011 | Comments (0)


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