Rating: 5 / 5
Mira Jacob’s Good Talk is a stunning graphic memoir that follows Jacob from adolescence through parenthood as she grapples with her identity as an East Indian woman and with the state of America pre- and post-Trump.
Jacob shares so much about her life throughout this graphic novel – she is introspective and blunt, and it’s so refreshing. She delves into her relationship with her parents, as well as her parents’ relationship with one another; she discusses first dates and freely ponders sexuality; she stresses about her career, fears for her safety after 9/11 and the 2016 election, falls in love, and has a family.
Please take caution while reading Good Talk if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Racism / racial slurs
I read this stunning graphic memoir in under three hours and I loved EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND! For such little time commitment – because Jacob tells her story through vignettes, with dialogue bubbles, quick narrations, and gorgeous visuals rather than paragraphs – the payoff is huge.
Jacob’s life is not one marked by huge tragedy or big, dramatic face-offs, but is rather defined by small, important moments that add up to a full, well-lived yet complicated life. The memoir flows from a single idea – that Jacob’s son has questions for her. Some are silly, but others are grave and vitally important to his self-understanding and acceptance. Jacob grapples with how to answer these questions and remembers the moments in her life that defined her understanding of self and her relationship with others. Good Talk is quietly profound and not-so-quietly delightful and thoughtful.
I loved learning about Jacob’s life and those moments that she found so important. She tells a perplexing story about visiting India as a child and understanding that her family found lighter skin – which she did not have – to be more beautiful. She recalls the Twin Towers falling in New York and how she feared there would be backlash for herself and others with dark skin. She fondly remembers reconnecting with a high school acquaintance and, ultimately, marrying him. She thinks back on a time when her white mother-in-law’s party guests assumed that she – at six months pregnant – was the help and offered her their dirty dishes. And she constantly ruminates on the state of her country, the potential for its future, and how these things work together to create a safe, or dangerous, space for her son to grow up in.
Jacob touches on so many important themes, for herself and for readers – being a daughter to immigrants, motherhood, sexuality, politics and having family with different political views, race, love, and so much more. Fascinating, moving, and hopeful – this is a beautiful memoir told in the most unique and visually beautiful way possible. I so highly recommend that you pick up this book – I am so confident that you’ll love it, and that you’ll walk away from it with more empathy and understanding about the climate of the United States and how it has affected its citizens, as well as a mother’s love of her son – to name just a few key takeaways.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Good Talk. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the memoir in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!