Knockout Narratives Sale
 
 

Review-a-Day
Powells.com
Saturday, March 6th, 2010
Voice your opinion about this review by
posting a comment on the Powells.com blog


 

Smile

by Raina Telgemeier

The Unforgettable Tooth

A review by Chris Bolton

Raina Telgemeier's Smile is a graphic novel for kids based on Telgemeier's real experiences in sixth grade when an accident knocked out one of her front teeth and pushed the other all the way into her gums. If that makes the book sound horrifying, you only have part of the picture.

Telgemeier turns her toothy memoir into a snapshot of her adolescent years. As she deals with some fairly traumatic -- and often surprisingly funny -- dental drama, Raina experiences as much (if not more) anguish from two-faced friends, judgmental peers, annoying younger siblings, and (of course) boys.

Handsomely illustrated and cleverly written by Telgemeier, Smile is a simple, fast-paced, yet unforgettable story that will resonate with anyone who survived those tumultuous teen years. Younger readers will likely relate to Raina's tribulations at school and home, and those who are facing the dreaded braces will certainly feel grateful they didn't have to live through Raina's trauma.

What elevates the book to a higher level is the humanity Telgemeier brings to her work. Her art is sharp and beautiful, capturing the rollicking sensation of those formative years, where a single day can start horribly and somehow plummet even lower before suddenly rocketing to joyous heights. As a character, Raina is smart, headstrong, typically neurotic, and truly endearing. Smile isn't a penetrating memoir anywhere near the scale of Blankets or Fun Home, but readers of all ages will find its little tremors cause big aftershocks.


spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.