Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tina’s Mouth: an Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap Illustrated by Mari Araki YP FIC KASHYAP

Read through the pages of Tina Malhotra’s existential diary, a high school assignment to answer the all-consuming question: who am I? Well, for Tina it’s complicated.  She’s a non-religious East Indian-American, she’s looking for a use for her mouth, she’s in love with the father of existentialism Jean Paul Sartre, and she’s about to learn more about herself and life then she ever thought possible in one year. 

Think a high school, demented, profound, slightly profane, edgy, existential Diary of a Wimpy Kid with a totally awesomely out there female protagonist and you start to see the appeal of Tina’s Mouth.  The book is marketed as a good companion to the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (YP FIC SATRAPI or DVD PERSEPOL), but it really is quite a stretch.  Both are about young women coming of age and both are quite good, but that’s the only comparison point.  Mari Araki makes a great artist for the book.  The designs are simple and you can really believe the book is written and drawn by an artistically-inclined, inward-seeking teenage girl.  That leads to some of the books weaknesses.  Tina’s views on life, love, friendship, and cliques are witty and feel honest, but hardly groundbreaking or original.  The fact that this feels like it is a honest look at high school means that much of the ground covered has been covered (and sometimes better) by plenty of YA novels.  The saving grace is that this is a graphic novel diary and that elevates the occasionally unoriginal material to something fresh and new.  Not for all comic fans, but if you want something funny and unique in your comics this is a good, quick read.

Check our catalog for Tina’s Mouth here.

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