Good Talk

Good Talk

A Memoir in Conversations

Graphic Novel - 2018
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A "beautiful and eye-opening" (Jacqueline Woodson), "hilarious and heart-rending" (Celeste Ng) graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing .

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Chicago Tribune * The New York Public Library * Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * Time * BuzzFeed * Esquire * Library Journal * Kirkus Reviews

"How brown is too brown?"
"Can Indians be racist?"
"What does real love between really different people look like?"

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob's half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything . At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she's gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.

Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation--and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.


"Jacob's earnest recollections are often heartbreaking, but also infused with levity and humor. What stands out most is the fierce compassion with which she parses the complexities of family and love." -- Time

" Good Talk uses a masterful mix of pictures and words to speak on life's most uncomfortable conversations." -- io9

"Mira Jacob just made me toss everything I thought was possible in a book-as-art-object into the garbage. Her new book changes everything." --Kiese Laymon, New York Times bestselling author of Heavy
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399589041
Branch Call Number: GN JACOB M
Characteristics: 355 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 22 cm


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From Library Staff

In Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir Good Talk, tough questions are the catalysts for necessary discussions. Framed through the innocent yet poignant queries of her 6-year-old half-Jewish, half-Indian son ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Jacob seeks to find thoughtful but truthful answers to qu... Read More »

List - Ian's top 20 from 2019
LPL_IanS Jan 13, 2020

From fielding her son’s Michael Jackson queries (including did MJ prefer being white or black) to wrapping her head around her loving in-laws’ unapologetic 2016 support of Donald Trump, Mira Jacob tackles being brown in the USA in this smart, big hearted, funny until it’s not, collage-like graph... Read More »

From the critics

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ArapahoeSarahH Jan 12, 2021

This graphic novel is a must read in our anti-racist work, recounting the author's experiences growing up in the US as well as how she and her husband explain current and past events to their young child.

Dec 29, 2020

I just loved this book. It was funny, touching, sad, thought-provoking -- it had a bit of everything.

Jun 23, 2020

I loved the way the story was told through conversation. I think this book provides an important perspective of life in USA and I appreciate the way the author didn't shy away from the tough conversations with her child, spouse, and parents-in-law. I felt like some of the conversations were cut short but overall really enjoyed this!

Jun 18, 2020

Unusual and interesting presentation; topical and relevant; USA-centric.

OPL_RubyJ Jan 21, 2020

Mira Jacob addresses race, families, and what those mean in modern day America. The art is mixed media and very reflective of Jacob's story. I applaud her strength to write about her fears as a parent.

Aug 12, 2019

I gave Good Talk one star, instead of one-half of a star, because it had a few good things: The conversation-based, graphic novel style was very creative, and a potentially good medium for her story telling. She was incredibly candid about her views and experiences. Overall style reasons I did not like it include how the conversational style limited her own depth and self-reflection and the degree to which she bounced around from her story with her young son to different parts of her past, often-time seemingly without relevance. Jumping between story timelines is an effective storytelling technique, but it seemed to mostly be something she was simply doing without real purpose or forethought as to why she was interrupting her current story with a past story - that is confusing and distracting to the reader. There are a significant number of personal-preference reasons I also did not like the book: full frontal nude drawings of women; repeated inclusion of one-night stand encounters and vast sexual promiscuity (it appeared the author's answer to a phone call with the parents was to go downstairs to the bar and find someone to sleep with); frequent political proselytizing that seemed to have little bearing on the story (there was definitely relevant political proselytizing, but there was also stuff that seemed like she just wanted to bash someone so she included it). But the largest reason I rated this book so lowly: the author is an incredibly racist and bigoted person. She clearly learned to judge everyone based on their skin color because she was a dark-skinned Indian woman and she was viewed as ugly/unattractive by lighter-skinned Indians, even her own parents and grandmother taught her that dark-skin in their culture means unattractive. It is heart-breaking to see this woman passing on this kind of bigoted and racially prejudiced thinking to her son as well. (one note: I quit reading about halfway through because I could not take it anymore, so I do not know if she ever "got woke" to her racial prejudices and changed, or continued on.) One example is out with her then boyfriend who sets up a double date with a black friend of his. The black friend asks what her parents do, she says dad is a cardiovascular surgeon, the black friend says "huh." She draws what went through her mind (a maze of images with the projects and so forth) and she clarifies, "That means he is a heart surgeon." (cuz in her mind, a black kid must not do well in school so he says "huh" because he doesn't know what cardiovascular means) Her boyfriend and friends have a justifiably horrified response... and we understand why we never hear from that boyfriend in her stories again. Another example, after Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, she passes on her racial prejudice to her son (at this point, she has married a white Jewish man and they have a brown, biracial son) explaining how white people are afraid of brown people ... apparently her explanation of how horrible white people are in their views of brown people has been so thorough up to this point, this prompts her son to ask, "Does that mean Dad is afraid of me." Wow did that stop her in her tracks, and the follow-up conversations with her son and even her husband about it are deplorable. By halfway through the book, I just could not marinate my mind in this woman's racial hatred any longer. It was too much. I realize she may have spent the second half of the book sharing conversations that helped her wake up to how racially hateful she was and take responsibility for her views and change her perspective and start taking everyone for the content of their character and not stereotyping them to the color of their skin - but I could not endure another half of the book in the hope she would have that epiphany. Thus, I returned it and gave it one star.

vm510 Jul 16, 2019

I read this in chunks, but every time I picked it up I was so intellectually stimulated. This is a book about how for Jacob, politics is always personal. Jacob discusses a myriad of ways her race and gender and background affect her daily life and how people interact with her (as an artist, as a mother of a mixed-race child, as a New Yorker when 9/11 happened, as a person living through the effects of a Trump presidency). It's touching and funny and thought-provoking.

OPL_BethS Jun 06, 2019

I can't say enough good things! A culturally diverse graphic novel bio that is candid, issue oriented, and reflective. In it, the author tries to answer her young son's very difficult questions regarding race and politics, and in the process, she relooks at her own past and tries to make sense of it all.


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Aug 12, 2019

anonymouswe thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over


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Aug 12, 2019

Sexual Content: Heavy, graphic sexual references: Drawings of full frontal female nudity; people together in back seats of cars & beds (no nudity). Multiple times, main character goes out in public to find a stranger for a sexual encounter (one night stands). Frequent reference to sex life.


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