[Review] Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

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 β€” 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 β€” 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

Publisher: One World
Release date: March 26, 2019 
Book links*: Goodreads | Book Depository | IndieBound

*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]

4 stars

This was an incredible read: funny, heartbreaking, frustrating, and touching by turns. It’s honest about the struggles of being a minority in America β€” 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 β€” 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” β€” which really just means it’s about life in America in our day and age.


13 thoughts on “[Review] Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

  1. Ultimately, this book is about β€œrace, color, sexuality, and of course, love” β€” which really just means it’s about life in America in our day and age.< I need you to just admire how amazing this is and that you wrote this. I loved the review, but sometimes I forget how awesome some bloggers are at writing in general, glad you enjoyed this book and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awwwww Haley I’m screenshotting and saving this comment for the inevitable camp nano slumps awaiting me next month (lol), because that’s so so nice of you to say 😊 (I was pretty proud of that particular line actually, I’m beyond delighted that someone noticed!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Ultimately, this book is about β€œrace, color, sexuality, and of course, love” β€” which really just means it’s about life in America in our day and age.”

    Can I just take a moment and applaud you on how beautiful and eloquent that sentence is. Like I was intrigued before, but now I am captivated. Honestly you are a 10/10 in the review game fam! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had heard about this book before but I didn’t know the main character was so young! And I didn’t know it was a graphic novel?! So basically, from your review I learned this book is different than I expected it to be πŸ˜› But it sounds really good and like it tackles the miniority lifestyle well.

    Liked by 1 person

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