It’s a complicated thing, talking,” says Mira Jacob, whose graphic memoir, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, comes out in March from One World. “Social media has us believing that the only conversations worth having are the ones that affirm us, the ones we can align ourselves with by clicking Like. Meanwhile most of us are pretty clumsy when we’re trying to talk. We say too much or too little or the wrong thing entirely.” The tricky art of conversation is on full display in Good Talk, which depicts several of Jacob’s conversations with her inquisitive six-year-old son, who is both Jewish and Indian American. Her son’s questions—Was Michael Jackson brown or was he white? Is it bad to be brown? Are white people afraid of brown people?—cut to the heart of many issues concerning race, family, parenthood, and America.
With humor and a willingness to examine her own beliefs, Jacob explores how people struggle to speak to one another about hard topics. “I’m hoping readers will leave the book thinking about their own conversations,” she says, “the ones that have formed them, the ones they’ve only ever had in their imaginations, the ones they might need to have, the ones they might need to open themselves up to.”