Sisters : Raina Telgemeier

SistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Telgemeier’s work is a joy and this book is life-affirming. ‘Sisters’, a sequel to Smile details the great joy and pain that is sibling life. Raina has longed to be a big sister but, upon the arrival of Amara, she rapidly learns that things aren’t quite what she thought they would be. A younger brother, Will, also follows making Raina the big sister in a family that she desperately wanted but doesn’t quite know how to deal with now that it’s here.

Things come to a head on a road trip which sees the narrative shift between the present and past; a richly coloured lushness placed against sepia tinged frames, and it’s delicious. It really is. This is artwork that thrives and lives. I’d defy anybody not to laugh at some of the more emphatic panels which focus on Amara’s temper tantrums, and the subtle background work which hints at some discord between the parents is clever, delicate and sympathetically done. These are books that capture story and life and moments within their pages and it is quite fabulously done.

Telgemeier’s work came somewhat strangely into my life. I found my copy of Smile all by itself on a shelf in Asda and I snatched it up in a ‘wait, what’s this doing here’ sort of manner. And I’m so glad that I did. Telgemeier writes with such a genuine warmth, lightness and humour that I am rapidly in the process of devouring everything she’s ever done. I’ve just read The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea. It’s fabulous.

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Smile : Raina Telgemeier

Smile (Smile, #1)Smile by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is very little about this adorable, funny and heartfelt coming of age comic that I did not love. Inspired by the authors own dental experiences, Raina goes through the most epic of toothly sagas after falling over and losing her two front teeth. We follow her throughout this journey, through retainers and braces and back again.

And it’s lovely. I would give this to everybody and anybody. Perfect for those who may need a little bit of reassurance to get through their visits to the dentists, perfect for those who feel like they don’t fit in and perfect for those who just love a good comic, Telgemeier’s book is full of warmth and love and the weirdest sort of pride in coming to terms with what happened to her.

Artistically, it’s a delight. Coloured in the richest of sunny hues, it’s set in the urban backdrop of San Francisco and the landscape is practically edible. There’s panels where Raina looks ruefully up at the innocent road sign and mutters about how much she’s really coming to hate this freeway exit, and others where she takes the new road to school. Each and every panel is so lovely, there’s very little else to say. I will note though that it’s not perhaps one of the most stylistically avant-garde of comics but it is is gorgeous and a perfect introduction to the medium, particularly for the younger reader.

God this comic is gorgeous. Utterly, vividly gorgeous. It made me laugh, it made me smile and it made me fall in love with the protagonist. Smile is one to discover.

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