Sisters is my first look at Raina Telgemeier’s work. Although this graphic novel is put out by Scholastic for the elementary / middle school crowd there’s plenty to recommend it for adults. Set in the not so distant past where a Sony Walkman is a huge present and mom drives a VW bus, Raina’s look at one summer trip to a family reunion is worth reading. The themes are universal, the emotions spot on.
Kids reading Sisters will recognize themselves while adults will read what isn’t shown on the page in this awkward age memoir. Everything is changing around Raina but her reluctant love for her younger sister. Outwardly light, the signs of trouble surround her. Much of that will resonate adults but will fly over the heads of many young readers.
My favorite aspect of Sisters was the layering of idealism. There’s the way Raina thinks having a sister will be, the way her mother thinks a cross country drive will be, the expectations both have for a family reunion – and then there’s the reality. It’s not a crushing disappointment so much as a realignment of expectation. Nothing is the way you expect but it’s still ultimately wonderful.
*This post originally appeared at Love In The Margins.