Sunday, May 12, 2013

Comic Review: Smile

Sorry that this one is late guys, weirdly enough it wasn't exams that threw me off schedule but all the last minute errand-y thing I had to do before graduation, gonna see if I can catch up by Monday but since my graduation isn't until Sunday that might not happen. And also, I'm gonna try but I might not have a comic review for this upcoming week, I've plain ran out of books that catch my eye at the libraries, heck I even read Abandon the old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and you know what, I just didn't feel like reviewing it. Part of this might be because I saw the blog post by one of the First Second editors talking about how they would rather have someone review a book (that they got from them) if they felt like they wanted to write a review rather than they were obligated. And I just don't feel like I would have anything meaningful/important/useful so yep, I read it, liked A Drifting Life more which I recommend and let's talk about this book now which I do have things to say about!


Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Summary: Raina was excited to get braces since all her classmates had them and this would make her more normal, although when she knocks out her front two teeth her braces suddenly become a lot more complicated and end up being a part of her life a lot longer than she expected.

The Good: Last week I praised Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong for the mundane aspects of it and, unsurprisingly since this story uses braces as part jumping off point part unifying theme, I'm going to do the same thing here. Usually braces, and glasses, only pop up in stories (middle grade stories anyway) as a device either to denote someone as a nerd or as a "look this character is just like you and me!" one off story which has always struck me as odd since so many kids in America do have braces. And wow did I emphasize a lot with Telgemeier's story (headgear? Yep. Crying in the orthodontist's office? Yes and worse!) and even though it's set a few decades back it doesn't feel dated in the slightest and I think that people, kids and adults alike, will be able to enjoy it for another few decades. Even if braces are replaced with something less painful the rest of Telgemeier's story will still be more than relevant.

The Bad: This was a pretty solid story and I don't have any real criticisms of it. It did take me a little while to realize when it was set, although that was me being silly not really the story's fault, but it felt paced well within the story and it was easy to see what choices Telgemeier was going to make. Best of all, as I semi-mentioned earlier this is a middle grade story and even though I normally don't like those as much I think this works great as an all ages book and it doesn't talk down to it's audience, honestly since it does that right just about any problem would seem minor by comparison.

The Art: The book was in full color which I thought was a good choice, it gave the art a certain color it just wouldn't quite have had if it was just in black and white tones, it wouldn't have fit with the art's nice rounded style. I guess it sounds odd to talk about if an artist's style fits the story or not, especially since I don't often run across a story where I feel like the art is completely wrong for it, but what i mean here is that this is a autobiographical comic and even though the art is what people would call cartoony it doesn't use things like over-exaggerated reactions or huge sound effects which would have felt totally out of place in the story. In that respect it's also a good example of how you don't need a super realistic art style to tell an autobiographical story, then again I could have pointed you to half a dozen webcomics to also prove that point.


So, a good 3.5 or 4 out of 5 stars for this and a hearty recommendation. I've heard that Telgemeier has another book out there and I will need to make sure to track it down in the near future and see what that one is about, probably sooner than later given my lack of buffer.....

No comments:

Post a Comment