ABOUT THE BOOK:
“By turns hilarious and
“Who taught Michael Jackson to dance?”
“Is that how people really walk on the moon?”
“Is it bad to be brown?”
“Are white people afraid of brown people?”
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.
“How brown is too brown?”
“Can Indians be racist?”
“What does real love between really different people look like?”
Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply
LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversation by Mira Jacobs is a 2019 One World publication.
Thought provoking, humorous, deeply revealing, and heart wrenching
A new- found interest in graphic novels led me to this book originally. When I started reading this book, I had no idea I was about to have my emotions put through the wringer. Despite the raw feelings exposed in this novel, I can’t stress how important I think the book is. All Americans should give this book a try, because so many people are too squeamish to have these tough discussions, and I think this book could help promote understanding and healing.
Mira Jacob’s six year old son begins asking his mother some pointed and blunt questions about skin tone, race, and other situations in his life, prompting Mira to think of the conflicted messages she received while growing up, while allowing a few pent up frustrations to surface, as she ponders the best way to address her son’s questions.
For regular readers of graphic novels, the artwork might come as a bit of a surprise. The graphics consist of real photographs with superimposed artwork added in. The art is not eye popping, with well -drawn facial expressions or vivid colorization. In fact, to be blunt, the author used some of the same artwork in several photographs more than once, and the features are very plain. However, there is a method to the madness, and if one thinks about it, this is a more fitting approach, and is most assuredly done by design.
I truly appreciated the reality of this memoir. It is frank, raw, messy, and very honest. Often there are no pat answers and each person’s situation is unique. For Mira, she is an Indian with a darker complexion and her husband is Jewish. Her mixed- race son, Z, is quite perceptive, especially in our current political climate, and his questions prompt some uncomfortable conversations. This is a good thing, though. Mira doesn’t always know how to answer Z, something all parents can understand. Yet, when it comes to race and bigotry, explanations can be a bit tricky.
At times Mira can seem a little sharp, as her frustrations spill over causing a little friction in her marriage. But this is part of her journey, which in having these frank conversations with her son, friends, husband, extended family and others on the periphery of her life, she discovers certain truths about herself.
I had a good, heaving cry while reading this book. It truly made my heart hurt. Dear Mira, I do hope you know that many people, despite not living within the same set of circumstances as yourself, do very keenly feel your pain.
As serious as all this sounds, the book is markedly funny at times, and it is even cathartic in some ways. The title of the book is apt- This is indeed a “Good Talk”, one we all should consider taking part in.
A must read!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Her recent writing, drawings, and short stories have appeared in The New York Times, Guernica, Vogue, Glamour, the Telegraph Buzzfeed and Shondaland. She teaches fiction at NYU, The New School, and Randolph College.
In September 2014, Mira was named the Emerging Novelist Honoree at
She is currently drawing and writing her graphic memoir, Good Talk: Conversations I'm Still Confused About (Random House, 2019). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.
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