I am not an artist and I am no expert on graphic novels. I will say however, that I enjoyed Smile tremendously. Based on the author’s actual experience with dental work, Smile is a graphic novel that moves from Raina’s sixth grade year to her sophomore year, telling the story of how she went from losing her two front teeth in a fall, to having beautiful teeth perfectly aligned. She experiences everything from head gear to basic braces during this traumatic time in her life.
The author, while portraying the woes of teenage years, expertly weaves in the ways in which she matured during these formative years. By the end of the book, I felt like I WAS Raina, understanding her pain, even though I never experienced braces. I rooted for her as a character, not because she was perfect, but because she became so real and genuine to me as a reader.
It is my understanding that Ms. Telgemeier is a cartoonist by profession and her work has appeared in numerous publications and been nominated for various awards throughout the years. That being said, the illustrations were wonderful and perfectly fit to the tone of the book. She is obviously qualified to illustrate graphic novels, and I will most definitely be picking up any she publishes in the future.
by Raina Telgemeier
Published by Scholastic