Smile is the story of what happened to a girl’s two front teeth when she was 11 and how it affected her self-perception while becoming a teenager.

The author, Raina Telgemeier, has an impressively simple style, the kind that looks really easy but is actually quite skilled. Her doppleganger is immediately likable, a happy, outgoing girl who’s uncharacteristically restrained by her accident and how it changed her smile. All the emotions are unspoken but clearly visible through the character’s body language.

It takes someone who’s been there to remember all the aspects of the experience — treatment that makes you sick, how other kids gossip, the thoughtless teasing of a younger sibling, the alien feel of the dentist’s office, the sleepless nights worrying about your appearance. And over it all, the sensitivity as doctors drill and braces pull.

It’s a terrific comic, capturing what it’s like to be a kid presented with the insight of an adult. There are ten chapters available online, all worth reading.

2 Responses to “Smile”

  1. MoCCA Art Festival 2009 (Johanna) » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Telgemeier had postcards promoting the collection of Smile, due out in February. The cover takes a minimal approach, featuring a smiley face wearing braces. I […]

  2. X-Men: Misfits » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    […] writers. I’ve long appreciated the work of couple Raina Telgemeier (The Baby-Sitters Club, Smile) and Dave Roman (Astronaut Elementary, Teen Boat, Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden). They know […]




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