Raina Telgemeier’s Smile is an amusing graphic novel about Raina’s struggle with middle school problems, on top of getting braces. This is an autobiography of Raina’s life in middle school. Raina, the main character, wants to be a normal sixth grader, but one night after girl scouts, she tripped and fell forcing one of her teeth to go into her gum and the other to fall out. The loss of her teeth made her feel self-conscious because she is not like the rest of the kids her age. When she looked in the mirror for the first time, she saw a big white cast-like bandage around her teeth. One of her teeth fell out, and the other one got stuck up in her gums. Raina started to go to the orthodontist several times a month. Following these appointments is a long list of treatments, including a process where Raina gets braces then she gets them removed for surgery. Headgear and a retainer with fake teeth attached to it followed the operation. When the doctor pulled down her other tooth, he put a white bandage over the teeth to protect them, so they can heal properly. The next day at school, everyone was staring at her because of the bandage. All of a sudden, she noticed all of her friends making fun of her. Raina was in a great amount both physical and mental pain.
The writer based the book on herself. The book is a true story of the author in girl scouts and her two front teeth falling out. Telgemeier told the whole process to make her teeth perfect again. In the book the author includes all the details of her life during the time she had braces. In addition to her time with braces, she also explained the times when there was a major earthquake, boy confusion, and problems with her friends. The author went through all of this drama throughout middle school and high school.
The theme of the book is that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what matters on the inside. It also includes important events that occurred in her early life. The major earthquake and her mouth surgery were both unforgettable events in her life. Overall, the book was interesting because many of weird events happened to Raina. I think that other people would like this book. People that like graphic novels and picture books would enjoy this graphic novel.