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'A different way of understanding the story'

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'Good Talk' by Mira Jacob
'Good Talk' by Mira Jacob
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke to Jhoanna Belfer of Bel Canto Books in Long Beach, Calif.

Mira Jacob was a novelist first, earning praise for her fiction, before she embarked on a memoir: “Good Talk.”

That memoir is unlike anything else, says bookseller Jhoanna Belfer.

“It’s a graphic memoir, and so it’s written in the format of essentially what looks like cartoons.” The art is a collage of drawings and photographs.

“I don’t think she trained as an artist, but she had this idea to write her memoir in this format because she wanted to really show people what her life was like, and the conversations she has with her son,” Belier explained.

“It’s just a wonderful memoir that is tackling the issues of being a person of color who grows upon the U.S., thinking America is getting better in a certain way, and then you start to see events happening in 2012 to 2016 … and seeing that maybe it’s not as great as you think it is. [She’s] trying to make sense of the world for her son, as well, who is a child who is mixed race.”

“I would say the thing that really impresses me with Jacob’s memoir is that she specifically decided to present it in a graphic novel format … And that’s a different way of understanding the story because you have to visually see it, and you’re essentially just listening in on these conversations she’s having with herself, her family and her friends … It’s much more immediate than reading it as an essay.”