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Smile Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on again, off again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached And on top of all that, there s still to deal with a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly This coming of age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama Braces sucked From sixth through the beginning of eighth grade, I wore braces Not brackets, but bands On every tooth Errant wires carved totems of the soft tissue at the back of my jaw sacred designs that I m sure exist there to this day My smiles looked of cold steel My jaw hurt from aggressive application of rubber bands And my teeth would not get clean At the end of those two years, I had the perfect smile or at least the perfect teeth with which to perform that kind of smile had I kn Braces sucked From sixth through the beginning of eighth grade, I wore braces Not brackets, but bands On every tooth Errant wires carved totems of the soft tissue at the back of my jaw sacred designs that I m sure exist there to this day My smiles looked of cold steel My jaw hurt from aggressive application of rubber bands And my teeth would not get clean At the end of those two years, I had the perfect smile or at least the perfect teeth with which to perform that kind of smile had I known how to do such a thing in eighth grade A quarter century later and I still have the physical tools with which to enact the perfect smile as well as something of the social gearwork to make my attempts less ghastly Braces, for me, worked their magic And I m still not sure it was worth it.Still, regardless of how difficult my own experience was, those pains, miseries, and woes pale when compared to the manifold sorrows with which Raina Telgemeier s young life was cursed The author, when she was in sixth grade, fell and did substantial damage to her two front teeth Knocked one out and smashed the other one up into the gumline I m getting queasy just writing about it because as Telgemeier relates the event and immediate aftermath in her autobio comic, Smile, the whole experience is rather harrowing I m not usually one to blanch at grusome displays of violence in either prose or comics or film or art Caravaggio s Judith leaves me nonplussed Murakami s manskinner in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is exciting but never nauseating And the cannibalistic humour inChewis merely amusing But Telgemeier s recountment of her accident, the blood, the immediate visit to the dental surgeon, the x rays showing where her missing tooth went it all made me a bit faint.Fortunately, all that was just the first fifteen pages or so After that, Smile shifts into something not dissimilar to the common Young Adult exploration of junior high and then high school insecurities The drama of growing up and all that Only young Raina also has muchorthodontic work in her immediate future than would the average kid suffering the slings and arrows of burgeoning puberty Telgemeier balances the telling between school drama and mouth drama nicely though it helps the reader to know that this is not just a story but that it is Telgemeier s story Through Raina, the author relives a streamlined and story driven version of her own life and makes it palatable for general audiences.If I have one complaint about the book, it s that its lessons seem too pat, its morals too well placed The whole experience is very After School Special not in that this is a story ineptly told for Telgemeier is obviously well skilled and the book well crafted , but simply because everything fits together so very nicely Which we don t often come to expect from biography Lives are too messy to be retold so crisply Of course, it may be possible that Telgemeier really lives in the sweetness that lifts so pleasantly from Smile s pages To that, then, my criticism is not so much that the history Telgemeier relates is not believable, but instead that it s just not complicated enough It doesn t leave much for the reader to think on once the last page is turned.But that most likely wasn t Teglemeier s intent and her audience plausibly isn t a cynical guy who sthan twenty years older than Smile s principle figure So make of that what you will.To its fortune, Smile is a brisk read for all its pages and will keep most readers interested enough to finish the book in a single sitting The book paces well and even the pieces that seemed familiar or predictable always escape feeling formulaic or contrived And Telgemeier makes Raina into a sympathetic character who, even when at her most pathetic or bratty, is someone you kind of just want to hold on to and take care of.Telgemeier s art is lively and fluid and she seems to have little trouble putting her characters into whatever circumstance her story demands of them Most impressive to me was how she allows her characters to age visibly Raina begins as a small girl involved in Girl s Scouts, but soon makes the transition to junior high and then across that gulf of development into high school Telgemeier uses numerous visual cues to help us keep Raina s age straight More than just the eventual appearance of breasts the lazy artist s cue of choice , Raina s face, hair, and carriage all shift naturally as she matures In the final pages, as her ordeal comes to a close, she has apparently grown up and has transitioned from childhood into young womanhood I had trouble deciding whether Smile was Good or just Ok At the end of the day, the book really is something of a trifle, an entertaining yarn that sits pretty firmly in the YA tradition of non challenging reads But simultaneously, Telgemeier does a good job at what she sets out to do and the care with which she treats her characters is evident throughout And while Smile is ostensibly about overcoming a dental crisis, it also explores our common inability to be happy due to our common inadequacies Smile points out that our reliance upon the things that sour us to life is often entrenched simply because those things are comfortable In any case, while to adults Smile may just be an entertaining read, to its targeted demographic the book may read like a manual to no longer being miserable.Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad Cute, but a bit forgettable. Poet Ogden Nash said, Some tortures are physical And some are mental, But the one that is both Is dental Graphic Novelist Raina Talgemeier knows this all too well she is the Odysseus of modern dentistry The author tells of her own particular journey of adolescent woe which came in the form of a seemingly endless tangle of dentists, endontists, periodontists, orthodonists, with their promises to perfect her not so pearly whites.In sixth grade Tanglemeier got braces to fix a run of the mill ov Poet Ogden Nash said, Some tortures are physical And some are mental, But the one that is both Is dental Graphic Novelist Raina Talgemeier knows this all too well she is the Odysseus of modern dentistry The author tells of her own particular journey of adolescent woe which came in the form of a seemingly endless tangle of dentists, endontists, periodontists, orthodonists, with their promises to perfect her not so pearly whites.In sixth grade Tanglemeier got braces to fix a run of the mill overbite Then, while horsing around with her friends, she fell, and knocked out her two front teeth This one misstep plunged her into a four year ordeal of painful procedures, torturous surgeries, not to mention a perpetually changing appearance at a time when every kid is having a crisis of confidence As if puberty isn t traumatic enough Follow this lost heroine as she battles pimples, overcomes destructive friendships with hypercritical mean girls, endures painful oral surgeries, and finally finds her way to feeling at home in her own skin when she reaches high school.In a particularly wonderful moment, Raina rebukes her long time friends who do nothing but tear her down and tease her She realizes no friends are better than those friends Of course she adrift and lonely for a while, but Raina makes new friends soon enough.The moment of truth comes when Raina is finally freed from her brace faced prison Despite all she has endured, the results are far from perfect Dreading what she has come to expect as inevitable teasing in response to each dental iteration, she approaches her friends with trepidation But these new friends are nothing like the petty old friends They re like, you look cute let s go eat Phew These new amigos are actually fun to be around What sthey love and support her And with that they wander off into a bright future This is a must read for anyone who has ever gone through puberty you know who you are Welcome home weary traveler no joke i have read this book at least 100 times that s not an exaggeration i read it at least once a week sometimes multiple times a day this book will stay with me forever and i will grow old with it.the humor and art combined with the raw emotion makes for the best graphic novel memoir I ve ever read Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram no joke i have read this book at least 100 times that s not an exaggeration i read it at least once a week sometimes multiple times a day this book will stay with me forever and i will grow old with it.the humor and art combined with the raw emotion makes for the best graphic novel memoir I ve ever read Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram

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