Smile by Raina Telgemeier is a true story about the author as a teenager. Oh, and it’s a graphic novel. The main plot revolves around the knocking out her front teeth and getting braces but it really shows how these things affected how she looked at her life.
I’ll start by explaining that Raina was already slated to get braces to correct her overbite before the accident where she knocked out the teeth. From the sounds of it, the whole thing should have been short and easy but instead she had to deal with years of surgeries, headgear, retainers, and a restricted diet. I was totally having sympathy pains throughout all the dental stuff. I went something very similar when I was around the same age, only without knocking out any teeth and no headgear, thank goodness. I’ve always had problem teeth. When I was in Grade 3, I had a spacer that was supposed to get rid of the gap between my front teeth but ended up overlapping them and then they had to reverse it. This is more than likely the reason that I had to get braces. When I was in Grade 8, my dentist discovered that I had a tooth near the front that was coming in sideways, so I had to have oral surgery (like Raina) to expose that tooth and remove seven others (including my wisdom teeth so that they didn’t interfere later). Then they put on the braces and had to slowly drag down the exposed tooth into place, which was extremely painful. Since braces are so expensive, my parents saved money by getting them done at the local university. The students did a good job but unfortunately, they took around twice as long as they should have in an attempt to make my teeth perfect. Also, like Raina, I had a cry in public moment when I was told that they had to stay on longer. Altogether, I had braces for almost three years. The best day of my teenage life was the day that they came off.
I think that my favourite part of this book is that Raina’s dental problems really made her think hard about her relationship with her friends. I won’t give anything away but there was a part that I cheered really hard for her because she did something I’m not sure I’d have had the courage to do at her age.
This was the second time that I read this book and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Will this book win the Intermediate Division? Hard to say. Oh, and even thought this book is Intermediate Division, it definitely would be good for younger ages, too.
What I’m reading now: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison, The Faceless Ones audiobook by Derek Landy, and Incarceron audiobook by Catherine Fisher.