Mira Jacob’s book Good Talk kept popping on my social media feed since it came out in March 2019. The term graphic memoir was strange enough for me to put away looking for it. Then, this week, while searching for something unrelated, this book popped up again. On impulse I bought it. I finished the book in less than two hours.
The style is compelling, the illustrations and pictures superior. Most of all, Mira draws us into her life, fly on the wall style, making us privy to the thoughts in her head as she navigates a complex socio-cultural landscape. As a second-generation Indian American who grew up in New Mexico and as a parent raising a bicultural child in New York, her views are representative of so many of us who struggle with naming and giving words to the complex feelings we have on race and politics.
Long after I put the book away, I am still sitting in discomfort. This is a book I want my privileged friends to read. Friends who are the majority in their countries, friends who have the privilege of being apolitical because their lives and their children’s lives do not depend on it. I want the people in my life to read it, sit in the discomfort the thoughts provoke and ruminate on how unseeing we are of the minorities around us.
I want my older children to read this someday, so they understand their sister and the way the world around her will treat her. I want my youngest to read this so she can name that feeling that is bothering her.
Most of all, I want those on the fence, those watching the world burn because they don’t know how to react to read this for most of what is wrong with the world begins with the ‘othering’, the demarcating the world into us and them. Healing begins with understanding, with empathy, with the ability to humanize and dissolve the lines that separate us.