I may have misspoke earlier in this book project when I declared my dislike of memoirs. Generally - I still am not a big fan, but I find that if the memoir is in the form of a graphic novel, I can be engaged and really like what is being said. SMILE is just the kind of memoir that I can get into!
Set in 1989 in San Francisco, author and illustrator Raina Telegmeier tells the tale of the awkward time in a tween's life when they have to get braces. She wants so badly to be a normal teenager, but after an unfortunate fall she has to get braces! Thus starts the tale of Raina. This lovingly illustrated gem is just as rich in story-telling as it is visually. My daughter raved about the book and devoured it in one sitting (it took me 2)!
Whether you had braces in your youth or not - Raina is very relatable. We all had some awkward moments growing up. The angst and excitement is deftly managed by the author. I am sure the fact that it is her life that we were reading about lent itself to the close editing. Nice touches about the past popped up throughout the book (Nintendo, San Francisco earthquake and even a reference from the 80s show Silver Spoons). They were nice reference points, but did not distract from the overall storytelling.
This is a great book to share with a tween in your life, or even read alone. I got a great chuckle from the story and would gladly read it again!