Tina's Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary - Keshni Kashyap, Mari Araki Appeal Characteristics visualization, Indian-American culture, California, identity, coming of age, philosophy, high school, friendship, relationships, family relationship, love, heartbreak, social issues

I found the universe of myself in this book. It took me a pleasant (and not so pleasant) stroll down high school memory lane where popular issues included: crushes, teachers, parents, siblings, and FRIENDS. That big question of what happens when your your high school buddy finds a new group to hang out with? What if you’re not welcome. Who are you then? Love it! This book has the great compelling viewpoint dipped in tones of teen angst, dramatics, and optimism to arrive at the point where one accomplishes self actualization. I am always so glad when you can get another culture’s American viewpoint. Tina doesn’t disappoint as you meet her and her siblings as they are growing up in America. She talks about everything from religion to culture marriage expectations (of her sister of course). You navigate with her on the tumultuous high school years as your old friends leave you, and you have to set out to make new friends. The love plot is predictable as you find out sometimes your best friends make the best potential boyfriends, and the guys you dig (are usually) jerks. Tina goes through a year chronicling her ups and downs, and her discovery about the universe of---herself. I loved the existential philosophical ideas that came out to play as it introduces teens to Jean-Paul Sartre and also Indian philosophers. I think what I loved best is how relateable the art work is. Sometimes the best way to get books across aren’t by having large lush backdrops of every color identifiable.

This book worked best in graphic novel format because it felt as if I had picked up some girl’s diary as she went through stages in her teenage life almost if she’s left behind a mark in the world to help guide me along her journey. Find the humor in the detail descriptions and layering of the text make it a treat to explore the world of Tina’s Mouth. You are connected on the issues she struggles with in her coming of age story. I liked the fact that Kashyap & Araki dealt with common Indian stereotypes and myths that anyone might have of the Indian culture.

Red Flags Minor Adult Situations, Minor Sexuality, Minor Alcohol Illustrations