Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Mira Jacob. One World, $30 (354p) ISBN 978-0-399-58904-1
Snippets of dialogue between Jacob (The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing) and her family and friends form the basis of this breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump. The bisexual daughter of Indian immigrants, Jacob effectively conveys how the 2016 election impacted LGBTQ folks and people of color in ways that were searing, personal, and often misunderstood (such as that awkward moment when the older gentlemen at her mother-in-law’s dog’s “bark mitzvah” think she’s the help). As her Trump-supporting Jewish in-laws insist they still love her, her six-year-old son wants to know not only if he can turn white like Michael Jackson (and “Did he lose his other glove?”), but how to tell which white people are afraid of brown people. Jacob pastes simple character drawings, cut like paper dolls staring directly at the reader, over grainy photos of New York City, her childhood home in New Mexico, and other locales, emphasizing the contingency of identity. The collage effect creates an odd, immediate intimacy. She employs pages of narrative prose sparingly but hauntingly, as when she learns that a haughty, wealthy woman once lost a child: “in that place where you thought you would find a certain kind of woman... is someone you cannot begin to imagine.” The “talks” Jacob relates are painful, often hilarious, and sometimes absurd, but her memoir makes a fierce case for continuing to have them. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/08/2019
Release date: 03/26/2019
Genre: Comics
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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