Dude Review: Drama

As might have become more than a little obvious by now if you’ve been reading this site for a while, I’m a bit of a geek. A nerd. A comic-book lover before there was any such thing as “The Avengers,” back when admitting to the fact that you read comic books was tantamount to a social death sentence.

It was my social secret, something I didn’t want the other kids in high school to find out about. I understand about being a bit of a misfit; being in honors classes with the smart kids, who were despised by the jocks. Being on all the athletic teams, who were looked down upon by the smart kids. It seems wherever I went, I tended to end up on both sides of a social dividing line.

All of which makes me even more of a sucker, a sure bet to like wonderful coming-of-age-as-a-young-girl comic-book drams such as the instant classic, “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier.

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This is some good stuff. Telgemeier, the author of another instant-classic called “Smile,” once again knocks the ball out of the park with a touching, comic story of a young middle-school girl trying desperately to find a place to fit in.

Instead of the clearly autobiographical story told in “Smile” of how a young girl had to deal with a serious dental oddity while trying desperately to find a place to fit in (sensing a trend here, but, since these are some great reads, I don’t really care), this story is set in the school’s drama department.

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! Following the success of SMILE, Raina Telgemeier brings us another graphic novel featuring a diverse set of characters that humorously explores friendship, crushes, and all-around drama!

I met Telgemeier at a recent HeroesCon in Charlotte a couple of years back after the release of “Smile.” She’s just as wonderfully nice and funny as she is on the printed page. It’s really a great thing to find a work you love, done by a person who you actually want to support.

Telgemeier has a wonderfully simple drawing style that showcases her expressive characters, while not throwing you out of the story with strange pictograms in place of people. This really is a wonderful book, even if you’re not a young girl coming of age.

If you are, however, it’s amazingly good. Don’t take my word for it. After seeing how good “Smile” was when I sent it to her, my niece, Boo, became an instant Telgemeier fan. I sent her this book and she adored it almost as much as she liked “Smile.” That’s saying something.

If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who’s into theater, or one who’s growing up, or one who still hasn’t found his or her place, you need to get these wonderful graphic novels. Go ahead. Really. This is the good stuff.


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