Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacobs (2018; 355 pages)
Mira Jacobs starts this book with a conversation she had with her biracial (half-Jewish, half-Indian) 6-year-old son who is starting to get obsessed with Michael Jackson. Like all children, he has a lot of questions:
“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?”
At first, they are harmless wonderings, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread, Z’s questions start to get harder to answer. Wanting to answer him honestly, Jacobs finds herself looking into her own past and her own experiences to examine how race and immigration and family has impacted her life and how it might impact her son.
Once I picked this book up, I absolutely could not put it down. It’s a powerful look at many serious topics facing families today, written/drawn in graphic novel format and candidly told with heart and humor. Conversations with her young son about race and racism and immigrants and hate and violence are all interspersed with Mira’s experiences growing up as a child of East Indian immigrants. She shares her experience with discrimination within her own culture as her grandmother bemoans the fact that she has darker skin and will be harder to find a husband for. She tackles her feelings about her white, Jewish in-laws voting for Trump. And it’s all written in my favorite tone – a true blend of funny and serious. This book had me laughing out loud and tearing up in turns, which is my favorite.
Pick up this book if you are interested in immigrant experiences, conversations about race, and the experiences of minorities in the era of Trump.
If you like this book, you might like:
- They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (2019; 204 pages). Both graphic novel memoirs deal with racism in America. Good Talk is set in modern times, while They Called Us Enemy looks back at the Japanese internment camps during WWII.