Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Read November 2020
Recommended for people who don’t understand sisters
 ★     ★     

Do you remember how it feels to spend a long road trip in the car, arguing with your sibling? Telgemeier has been kind enough to document that for the reader, so any time you feel like remembering the many arguments over being hot, or someone kicking your seat, or how bored you were, you can just open up this graphic novel and be reminded of fun times when parents determined when you could pee and eat. Yay.

This made it to my TBR through some friends’ reviews and by virtue of being a big sister myself. I was hoping Tegemeier’s autobiographical work might give some insight into that relationship. The answer is both yes-and-no; this is more a slice-of-life depiction rather than any introspective piece ala Roz Chast and her graphic book Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Sisters is about Amara and her family, and the summer they took a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado. The story is interrupted by flashbacks from a wide variety of time periods through the girls’ earlier lives, largely showing how Raina and her little sister Amara are essentially two little people with very different predilections and goals.

The drawings are solidly done, in a semi-realistic style. It’s very easy to tell all the characters apart and it’s nice they are all proportional.

I give credit to Telgemeier for writing and drawing with total frankness and not sparing her adolescent self from the lens. Both sisters are clearly suffering at times and are crossing swords due to frustration. The road trip–of course–gives them an opportunity to go through a funny hardship together. It ends on a very mixed note, including potential big family changes that are never resolved, but with the sisters reaching a temporary alliance.

Ultimately, a miss, mostly because it is too on target with the conflict without bringing much of a gestalt out of it. Two and a half slug-bugs, rounding up because it’s mostly me.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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