A 215-page account of a teenage girl getting braces on her teeth may seem like thin soup for a comic book memoir, but Raina Telgemeier's art and storytelling brings Smile to life.
My 13-year-old daughter just got braces so I thought she would enjoy Smile, but I ended up taking it and reading it over the weekend. Raina starts the book with a visit to the orthodontist, who tells her she needs braces. That night she falls face down on the pavement and knocks her two front teeth out (actually, one falls out and the other one gets driven up into her skull bone -- yikes). So what was initially going to be a simple set of braces turns into something more complicated, which nicely parallels with the increasingly complicated issues that a young girl about to enter junior high school must deal with, including new friends and new feelings. The book ends up being less about braces and more about the day-to-day trials and triumphs of early teenagerhood.
Autobiographical comic books, especially ones about people's everyday lives, are my favorite kind of comic book, and I'd place Telgemeier near the top of my list. She's great at presenting image moments. Her use of timing and framing is probably what has gotten her nominated for Eisner, Ignatz, Cybil, and Web Cartoonists' Choice awards. Her use of exaggeration (see panel four, above) is employed sparingly and to good effect. When I was finished with Smile, I felt as though I'd really gotten to know what Telgemeier's early adolescence was like.
Buy Smile on Amazon
Artist and writer Jenny Odell (previously) is justifiably beloved for her pieces and installations that make us consider the economics and meanings of garbage, weird markets, and other 21st century plagues; in her first book, How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell draws on art criticism, indigenous practices, "Deep Listening," anti-capitalist theory, and […]
South Asia is a hotbed of brilliant science fiction writing, as well as writings in all the related genres capture by the Bengali word "kalpabigyan (encompassing literature that is "science-dependent," "science-based," "science mystery" and "science"), and there have been many brilliant anthologies of science fiction from the region; the latest entry to the field is […]
Science writer Leigh Phillips's 2016 book Austerity Ecology and the Collapse-Porn Addicts was one of the most important, angry and inspiring books I read that year, a passionate argument for a high-tech just and sustainable world that celebrated materialism and comfort, rather than calling for a return to a world of three billion people scratching […]
The digital age is well and truly upon us, but let’s not forget there’s a load of free TV content floating literally over our heads. No, we’re not talking about the internet. Signals from major broadcast networks are still gratis for anyone who can pick them up with an antenna. And before you envision those […]
Who said LEGO® had to be ground bound? With The Force Flyers DIY Building Block Fly ‘n Drive Drone, you can turn LEGO® and other building-block creations into fully-functional flying machines. It’s available now in the Boing Boing Store for $39.99. This kit comes with everything you need for remote-controlled long distance flight, including a […]
When businesses need big cloud projects done right, they need experts in DevOps. For the uninitiated, that’s shorthand for the framework that allows development and operations teams to work together toward the same goal – not as independent departments with their own agendas. There’s an arsenal of software that has cropped up to help in […]