I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and received a free copy from Random House Publishing Group for review purposes. This does not affect my rating or opinions of the book.
Summary: “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 country 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 relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation — and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.
[summary from the uncorrected proof I received]
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel
Representation: APIDA (East Indian-American; second-generation immigrant) & bisexual narrator, Jewish secondary character, biracial (East Indian/Jewish) secondary character, diverse cast
Content warnings: racism
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This was an incredible read: funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, and touching by turns. It’s honest about the struggles of being a minority in America — Jacob’s parents are from East India; her husband’s family is Jewish; her son is biracial; the cast of minor characters is also diverse — as well as the duality of being a second-generation immigrant (or a first-generation American, if you prefer), and the many different forms racism and prejudice can take, both personal and political. There are also tributes to such icons as Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, and Mindy Kaling!
It’s hard to pinpoint anything that I especially loved about this book, because I greatly enjoyed all of it. From the little interlude of knock-knock jokes (hilariously nonsensical as only a six-year-old could come up with), to brief but sweet moments of sibling solidarity, to adventures in dating as a bisexual woman of color, to dealing with well-meaning but ignorant white people, this book manages to cover a wide variety of experiences and accommodate a wide variety of voices without seeming more jumbled than our world already is.
Ultimately, this book is about “race, color, sexuality, and of course, love” — which really just means it’s about life in America in our day and age.