I got the chance to be on the committee for DC Reads this year, and was so excited that it was a graphic memoir: Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob. This book was thiccc and full of great moments and I really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to see the great conversations sparked in DC around this book.
This memoir is truly a memoir in conversations, and a graphic one not in the comic style, but in the illustration on found picture style, which really works here. It all stems from some conversations that Jacob had with her son, Z, who is biracial. Jacob is Indian-American and her husband, Jed is a Jewish man. “Do people hate me because I’m brown? Will I get deported? Am I batman?” It’s those sort of questions that inspired Jacob to write this, to explore these conversations, the ones we’ve had and the ones we haven’t, about race and sexuality and the experience of first generation Americans and being the child of immigrants and being someone with brown skin in post-9/11 NYC and more.
I can’t even explain all of what happens here, but it’s not as much a memoir of Jacob’s life as her experiences, and they’re told in a really compelling way. I LOVED reading about her bonkers experience with a white woman who thought Jacob should write her book for her and then got jealous of it. I loved seeing the way Jacob’s Indian heritage impacted her relationships and how she often embraced and often overcame the expectations. Her dating stories were hilariously relatable, even as someone who is not a person of color. Dating is the worst, right? She also roots her discussions around some major historical events that impacted not only the world but her life and her interactions with the world around her: particularly 9/11, the 2008 election of Barack Obama, and the 2016 election of Donald Trump. You can imagine how those all shaped her, an Indian woman with dark skin, in different ways. It was really gut-wrenching at times to read about some of the absolute CRAP she had to deal with, but she has a grace and humor that makes the way she tells her stories compelling to every reader.
I’m not sure how DC reads will shake out this fall due to Corona, but fingers crossed it goes on as planned with this pick!
Get Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations wherever books are sold. It’ll be available in paperback starting March 24, 2020.