Smile By Raina Telgemeier
Published 1 Feb 2010 By GRAPHIX
Summary: From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.
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. 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 more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
I am in love with Smile.
Smile is such a simple story, but possesses so much depth and elements that many can easily resonate with. Smile begins as a story that follows the author’s long and draining four year dental journey and her progression as a teenager from middle school to high school.
The story is presented as a graphic novel, where the pictures are simple, clean and coloured. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book because it helped me really visualise Raina’s traumatising dental drama and brings across the emotions very well.
The book begins with Raina at the dentist to fix her overbite problems, but later ends up injuring her two front teeth when she trips and falls. As her four year long dental journey begins, Raina also begins having to deal with boy trouble and terrible friends.
One of the main thing that Raina struggles with is bullying. Raina has terrible friends: they call her names, make fun of her, expose her secrets and are generally very unsupportive and awful. But the thing that makes me love Raina is that despite all of that, she stays strong and eventually finds real friends that support and love her.
I felt a lot for Raina and I could definitely resonate with her on so many levels, starting from terrible friends to having that first crush. In a way, it felt like I was watching my own story come to life (sans the dental issues). It was extremely heartwarming in the end, when Raina was able to lift her face and find her smile again.
Smile is a middle grade book, and certainly one that I would recommend everyone of all ages to read, especially the younger ones. Smile is one of those books I wish I read in my teenage years and would have definitely enjoyed. I feel like Smile could potentially help a lot of growing kids realise that things will be okay and that it is okay to have braces, and if you have friends that are constantly bringing you down, you should leave and not put yourself in that toxic situation.
I am so glad that I stumbled upon this gem of a book and in light of Anti Bullying Week next week, I am definitely going to be recommending this book to everyone.
Smile is an all-round heartwarming book with touching elements that will definitely make you want more.