Sunday, May 18, 2014

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

    Picture it. 2nd Grade. Field Day….the moonwalk. Like every kid at my elementary school I was beyond excited about Field Day. All the games, prizes, and lack of classroom school was more than I could take. The crowning glory on all of this was the moonwalk. Who knew that this would be one of the worst mistakes I ever made. One minute I was bouncing my way high up and the next thing I knew I was being dragged down the empty hallways to the office. I didn’t understand what was going on until someone shoved a mirror in my face. My pink Minnie Mouse shirt was covered in blood and my front tooth was hanging by a thread…which I easily pulled out. It never dawned on me that this was a permanent tooth and I didn’t need to touch it. This day would start almost ten years of painful dental work. All because of a moonwalk.

     I didn’t think anyone understood this nightmare. Yeah, most of my friends got braces, but that didn’t cover what I was going through. All the metal, bridges, false teeth, and dental surgeries. They didn’t know. But Raina Telgemeier knew.

   A while back I picked up a copy of Smile at the thrift store. After I started reading I felt like Telgemeier was telling my story. Years of appointments with tons of different donists. Embarrassing retainers. Oh, it goes on and on. Telgemeier does a wonderful job of telling her journey through this middle grade graphic novel. I felt her pain, her embarrassment, because I had been there. Her pain was my pain! I know many adults can relate to Smile and not just because of dental work. Telgemeier touches on bully, crushes, and all things that middle school and high school bring, but she does it with wit and humor. It is impossible not to love Smile. We all can relate to that awkward phase in life, but it is important to reflect on it with a smile.


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