Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary
Mari Araki (A)
Hought Mifflin Harcourt
$18.95 also available as an ebook
available 3rd January, 2012
From filmmaker Keshni Kashyap comes the story of a high school heroine –funny, wise, and reminiscent of Persepolis’s Marjane Satrapi — negotiating an existentially trying spring semester at her Southern California prep school.
Sophomore Tina Malhotra is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy and the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. After an English honors class assignment to keep an existential diary, she’s on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre. She looks to the great philosopher for help when Alex, her best friend and longtime smart-girl ally, dumps her for a new group — with whom, per Tina, “Alex could discuss slutty clothes and cheesy poetry.”
Weekdays eating lunch alone on her Bench of Existential Solitude and a little nudge from her hippie teacher drive her to make decisions that will change the course of her semester…and lead her to her first “technical” and real kisses.
Kashyap’s smart and funny graphic novel illustrates the tricky world of high school while wrestling with those bigger questions. In TINA’S MOUTH, our heroine contemplates her place in the world, what a heavenly and mysterious expanse might be, and what it all means on her path to enlightenment — all before the spring formal.
Now how do I, and I’m sorry to keep going on about my age here, at a youngish 50 something, review a book about adolescence? Well, I wondered whether anyone else had reviewed the book who might be younger and have a better insight (though I am in touch with my feminine side)?
Amazon reviews were rather damning. Amazon critics reviews are known for over pretentiousness at the best of times. So its all “showed promise” and “ultimately disappointing”. Seriously? These people need to try and put a book like this together and see how hard it is rather than write pointless drivel (I’ve no idea what started me “off” there).
The book is what the book is. I kept thinking of the movie Ghost World though I can’t think why. It was an interesting read and some nice art –this is not a comic book/graphic novel in the usual sense. I think female readers, whether adolescents or not, will find the book interesting.
I did wonder, though, why on the last page is scrawled “Die Camus” –I can only think it refers to The Myth of Sisyphus which is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus –why I know that I have no idea, sweeties, but go look it up, I think it’s relavent.
Overall, a nice read and would make a good movie –but what do I know!
About The Creators
Raised in Los Angeles, Keshni Kashyap studied literature at Berkeley and film at UCLA. Her films have been screened in more than forty festivals around the world. Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is her first book and a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Japanese painter Mari Araki. Kashyap lives in New York and is at work on two new projects. She is also an occasional contributor to the Daily Beast.
Mari Araki was born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Ishikawa, a suburb of Kanazawa.
In 2005, she graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She currently lives in Southern California, with her cats Nade, Nini and Rock.