Thursday 10 June 2010

Smile - Raina Telgemeier

Raina Telgemeier
Graphix an imprint of

ISBN 9780545132060

This is the story of Raina who just wants to be an ordinary sixth grader. She is going to get braces to fix an overbite but before they get affixed she falls and knocks out her two front teeth. This begins a long ordeal for her, of on-again off-again braces, headgear, surgery and that is just her teeth. There is also an earthquake, boys, and finding real friends. It chronicles over 4 years of treatment and adolescence.

I read this book because a friend who wrote a Graphic Novel column said it was one of the best of the year. I have also found a new fondness for the media over the last year. The specific story intrigued me because of my own experience with braces.

Telgemeir, in her story in this graphic novel, does an amazing job of capturing the experience of wearing braces. It chronicles the frustrations, the pain, the discomfort - all wrapped around the story of a girl growing through adolescence, and finding her true self. Wonderfully illustrated and inked, it was great fun to read. I had my braces from grade 4 to grade 8. I had 21 breaks while wearing them. I also remember my mouth feeling funny when they came off, and feeling weird without them. Raina Telgemeir truly has captured the essence of having braces and living with them day in and day out for year. But this book also captures the experience of growing up, and discovering what you love to do, and finding out what real friendship is about and like.


Chelle said...

I really liked Smile, too. When i got my braces off at 15 I was nervous because now I had no excuses for looking funny. The braces were off. I was suposed to look great. I could identify with Raina who was worried her new teeth weren't normal enough. Anyways, nice review.

Steven R. McEvoy said...

Thanks Chelle much appreciated.