Sharon's Reviews > Smile

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: cpl-best-of-the-best, graphic-novel, realistic-fiction
Read in March, 2011

Raina Teglemeier writes and illustrates an autobiographical poignant coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of her dental work. As Raina cycles through braces and headgear, she also confronts a set of friends who is overly judgemental about her appearance, a couple of crushes, and a journey of self-discovery in realizing she is an artist. Little moments in middle school that are both embarrassing (friends calling out the names of crushes) and transcendent (seeing "The Little Mermaid" and realizing she wants to be an animator) are skillfully portrayed. Raina is a protagonist you can get behind and root for, especially when she stands up to people who have been putting her down and spends more time doing the things that define her. In the end Raina, too, learns that she has been too focused on what was holding her back, like her orthodontics, and has not been moving forward. She stands as a positive role model for overcoming challenges of both the dental and non-dental variety.
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