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Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary Hardcover – January 3, 2012
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I was hooked at the very beginning when Tina labels the various cliques within her school, all the while unwilling to narrowly define herself except as an outsider. If Tina is oblivious to the irony, the reader cannot help but notice that the labels begin to slip the more Tina writes in her journal. Everyone from her former best-friend to her siblings don't live up to Tina's introduction of them and Tina herself changes, all the while trying to answer the question: Who am I?
Araki's illustrations are a perfect complement to Kashyap's text. Just sophisticated enough without being so highly stylized as to be obviously drawn by someone with decades of experience behind them. Instead the drawings look like something a talented but still inexperienced artist would draw. This is an intelligent choice.
This coming-of-age novel also serves as a gentle introduction to Sartre and existentialism and even a quick sample of a story from the Hinduism tradition that serves as a metaphor. That the writer and artist are able to layer so much and handle it all with so light a touch. For this alone, this graphic novel works better and fulfills above and beyond all expectations.
But if you want to read the most touching, edgy, fun, entertaining look at the world through an American-born girl of Indian descent navigating the shoals of high school life in 2011 California, this book is perfect.
Tina's Mouth succeeds on so many levels: it is funny, sad at times, touching, and very smart. Life as a teenage girl in an immigrant Indian family in California is like you might expect- but a lot different too.
This book is indeed in the vein of "American Born Chinese," but that book dwelled completely on the challenges of ethinicity and second generation immigrants. Tina's Mouth tackles some of that ground, but is much more ambitious, dealing with teen angst, and it even sneaks in a pretty good introduction to existentialism. What I love is that the author does it so subtly that even the most cynical teen will not see what is happening.
There has been an onslaught of "Diary of Wimpy Kid" copycat books, and none have captured the charm of the original. This is the first book that goes beyond "Wimpy Kid." This is better than the best of those books, but the audience is not the same. If you want a quick laugh, read one of the early "Wimpy Kid" books. If you want to laugh, cry, and wonder read "Tina's Mouth."
Because some of the discussion is too risqué for tweens, I would not recommend it for them. But for teens, this book is appropriate because they're talking about these topics at school anyway whether you admit it to yourself as a parent or not.
One of the best "graphic novels" of the year.
Tina is Indian American. She isn't religious and her family has not arranged a marriage for her. She is a pretty normal American teenager living in California, in fact. When her teacher gives them year long project on existentialism and encourages them to find out who they really are, she decides to keep a diary devoted to the project (which the teacher will mail back to them after 3 years). Along her journey, and dialogue with John Paul Sartre, Tina uncovers some universal truths about herself and about adolescence.
The story follows Tina as she takes the opportunity an decides to get more involved by joining the school play. She makes friends, loses friends, is heartbroken by friends. She sees her family for who they really are, including one very lonely and confused brother. She has a crush, has her first (and miserable) first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak. Tina lives the same life we all have lived, but she does so with the added challenge of examining her choices and the world around her for this project. The result is a realization that some of us still haven't made!
I struggled to like this book at first because I kept comparing it to Persepolis (thank you marketing department).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yet another excellent book, this graphic novel captivated my creative brain and inspired my own journalistic pursuits, even though it is fictional! Read morePublished 25 days ago by ShowThisBookSomeLove
Tina's Mouth is a classic coming-of-age comic book, and is a bit trite in some places.Published 4 months ago by Remembering Wonderland
Tina Malhotra is writing a diary for her honors philosophy class, because her other options include things like cataloging her garbage every day or videotaping what's in her... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Skye Kilaen
After reading this book, I had to make some serious changes to my list of favorite pieces of literature. Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by mary
A fond, affectionate yet incisive look at growing up South Asian in California. Great for kids and adults alike. Great illustrations.Published on August 22, 2013 by Shaheen M Chamarbagwala
Having a few good friends who are first generation Indian (South Asian) immigrants whose parents came to the US as part of the "brain drain" from India (mostly as doctors or... Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by Teacher S
A confused, awkward main character. A best friend who's changed. New friends who are not what they seem. Unwanted attention. Love. Discovery. Heartache. Growth. Read morePublished on April 12, 2013 by E. Kennen
I was shocked at the high reviews given this book. In my opinion it has no redeeming value. Aside from the theology premise that "Life is Meaingless" that I disagree with, the... Read morePublished on February 14, 2013 by Mark Twain
I kinda like this book. It's not on par with other comics I've read of the non-super-hero genre. And it's a bit too deliberate in fulfilling the promise of the title. Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by notaprofessional