Posted in Reviews

Review: Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

Recommended: yep
for hard conversations in an easier to follow format, for that insight children can sometimes give to complex issues


Mira Jacob’s touching, often humorous, and utterly unique graphic memoir takes readers on her journey as a first-generation American. At an increasingly fraught time for immigrants and their families, Good Talk delves into the difficult conversations about race, sex, love, and family that seem to be unavoidable these days.

Inspired by her popular BuzzFeed piece “37 Difficult Questions from My Mixed-Raced Son,” here are Jacob’s responses to her six-year-old, Zakir, who asks if the new president hates brown boys like him; uncomfortable relationship advice from her parents, who came to the United States from India one month into their arranged marriage; and the imaginary therapy sessions she has with celebrities from Bill Murray to Madonna. Jacob also investigates her own past, from her memories of being the only non-white fifth grader to win a Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest to how it felt to be a brown-skinned New Yorker on 9/11. As earnest and moving as they are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, these are the stories that have formed one American life.


I originally read this in 2020, and it was a lot harder at that point to get through it because a lot of the pain of racism and horridness in the United States was closer at hand and pressing all the time. I think things are still kind of politically and socially horrid, but in different ways now. So this still wasn’t super easy to read. Granted, it probably never will be.

The art is a sort of collage style that totally fills each page. It’s occasionally a bit more abstract, with skylines or symbolic aspects overlaid with the conversation bubbles of text. I found it really effective in conveying location and tone, and it often felt like it had a surprising amount of movement to it.

The topics in this are really difficult and complex ones, and not always with a resolution or solution. There’s a focus on one point of dealing with family or other loved ones who support an idea that rejects or hates who you are (think of, for example, a family member who would not support a daughter if they grew up and were lesbian). In a more general way, it’s about figuring out how to take the good with the bad of a person, and potentially how to determine when the bad outweighs the good and you can no longer take the person. It’s extremely tough, especially when family or other close bonds are involved as well.

Unfortunately… I think I’ll end up re-reading this several times more through the years and each time feeling that not much has changed.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

3 thoughts on “Review: Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

  1. I just flipped through my copy of this yesterday when I was sorting my bookshelf. I forgot how much I enjoyed the collage art style and the way the author “simplifies” tougher conversations. Sadly, I feel the same as you about the issues and how the feeling while reading it won’t change for… Many years to come if ever, especially considering the sociopolitical climate these days. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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