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A “beautiful and eye-opening” (Jacqueline Woodson), “hilarious and heart-rending” (Celeste Ng) graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families,  and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing.

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Chicago Tribune • The New York Public Library • Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time BuzzFeed • Esquire • Library Journal Kirkus Reviews

How brown is too brown?

Can Indians be racist?
What does real love between really different people look like?

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about  everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love. 
 
Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.

LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/OPEN BOOK AWARD

“Jacob’s earnest recollections are often heartbreaking, but also infused with levity and humor. What stands out most is the fierce compassion with which she parses the complexities of family and love.” Time

Good Talk uses a masterful mix of pictures and words to speak on life’s most uncomfortable conversations.” io9

“Mira Jacob just made me toss everything I thought was possible in a book-as-art-object into the garbage. Her new book changes everything.” —Kiese Laymon, New York Times bestselling author of Heavy

Review

“[I] loved it so so much. So poignant, honest, funny, powerful, and timely, and its themes build in a way that by the end is truly artistically transcendent.” —Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and Eligible

“Among its many virtues, Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir,  Good Talk, helps us think through this term [‘person of color’] with grace and disarming wit. The book lives up to its title, and reading these searching, often hilarious tête-à-têtes is as effortless as eavesdropping on a crosstown bus. . . . The medium is part of the magic. . . . The old comic-book alchemy of words and pictures opens up new possibilities of feeling. . . . The people are black and white—except, of course, they’re not.” —Ed Park, The New York Times Book Review

Good Talk addresses head-on the complexities of being fully American while also being fully Jewish, fully Indian, fully mixed, fully  whatever in the era of Trump. . . .  Good Talk attempts to answer, with humor and heart, some of the most difficult questions of all.” Bustle

“[A] showstopping memoir about race in America . . . by turns funny, philosophical, cautious, and heartbreaking . . . Particularly moving are the chapters in which Jacob explores how even those close to her retain closed-minded and culturally defined prejudices. . . . The memoir works well visually, with striking pen-and-ink drawings . . . collaged onto vibrant found photographs and illustrated backgrounds. . . . Told with immense bravery and candor, this book will make readers hunger for more of Jacob’s wisdom and light.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Breezy but poignant . . . [Mira Jacob] employs pages of narrative prose sparingly but hauntingly. . . . The ‘talks’ Jacob relates are painful, often hilarious, and sometimes absurd, but her memoir makes a fierce case for continuing to have them.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A beautiful and eye-opening account of what it means to mother a brown boy and what it means to live in this country post–9/11, as a person of color, as a woman, as an artist . . . In Jacob’s brilliant hands, we are gifted with a narrative that is sometimes hysterically funny, always honest, and ultimately healing.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author of Another Brooklyn

Good Talk begins with a child’s innocent questions about race and evolves into an honest, direct, and heartbreakingly funny journey. As a brown-skinned woman married to a Jewish man and the mother of a biracial child, I experienced this book on multiple levels: It broke my heart and made me laugh a helluva lot, but, in the end, it also forced me to ponder whether I have successfully provided the answers necessary to arm my own children against racism in America.” —Lynn Nottage, Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright of Sweat

About the Author

Mira Jacob is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. Her recent work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Glamour, Tin House, Electric Literature and  Literary Hub. She lives in Brooklyn.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
556 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

emmejay
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very good, very important
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2019
In this memoir, Mira Jacob explores her life and her awakening to the realities of being a person of color in the United States, alternating with her attempts to guide her mixed-race young son amid those same realities. The format is a series of several dozen conversations... See more
In this memoir, Mira Jacob explores her life and her awakening to the realities of being a person of color in the United States, alternating with her attempts to guide her mixed-race young son amid those same realities. The format is a series of several dozen conversations (“talks”), presented as comix with paperdoll-like characters over evocative photographic backgrounds of the relevant setting (various homes, big-city streets, outdoors).

I laughed out loud, I teared up. I felt turn-the-page suspense, discouragement, and the slightest hint of optimism. The book is readable in one sitting, but it’s not light material as Jacob develops the issues and powerfully immerses the reader in her experience. GOOD TALK is a very good book, and it’s an important book.
18 people found this helpful
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Jody
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Favorite favorite favorite
Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2019
Audiobook....narrated by Mira Jacob, and a wonderful full cast ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC..... A MUST LISTEN TO!!!!!!! ITS HILARIOUS......but... WE FEEL THE PAIN!!!!!! I laughed, I cried, I was in ‘aw’ with Mira’s son, Z. I fell deep in love... See more
Audiobook....narrated by Mira Jacob, and a wonderful full cast

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC..... A MUST LISTEN TO!!!!!!!

ITS HILARIOUS......but... WE FEEL THE PAIN!!!!!!

I laughed, I cried, I was in ‘aw’ with Mira’s son, Z. I fell deep in love with Mira - her family - and Mira’s ruthless passion.
WE REALLY GET the pain & hurt she has lived with her ENTIRE LIFE... WE GET THE MESSAGE....SOO deeply - I still have tears in my eyes as I type.

I was incredibly impressed with the styling- crafting - of BOTH THE BOOK ( written words Mira wrote), and the brilliant creativeness in the audiobook. There were added sounds that were outstanding and powerful. Why has nobody else thought of this yet? Mira may have started a trend in adding more creativity audiobooks.

This book is so gut wrenching RAW- and REAL. I listen from start to finish without stopping. It’s only 2 hours long....
........soooo wonderful -
You finish wanting everyone to get their hands on this!!!

I read Mira Jacob’s first book, “The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing”, years ago. I later met her at a book festival in Austin. We had a great conversation. I liked Mira’s first book - remember much of it well.....
But in this book, she out does herself. REALLY A POWERFUL PUNCH!!!
****GOOD TALK****, like the title says! is ****GREAT TALK****!!!!

It’s been a long time since I was THIS jazzed about THE AUDIOBOOK ‘itself’.
Two other audiobooks gave me the chills - Goosebumps- as in SO FRICKEN FRESH - in delivery and dialogue. “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”, by Sherman Alexie moved me BIG TIME.....
AND NOW......
“GOOD TALK”..... moved me BIG TIME! It will move you!!!!!!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

elysejody
7 people found this helpful
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AJIT PHADKE
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great read, and an important book
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2019
The headline is that I loved this book. It''s creative, well-plotted and drawn, funny, and deals with meaningful subjects in creative and witty ways. Looking for a good primer on "soft racism" and issues around love, race, and gender? Get ready for a "Good Talk."... See more
The headline is that I loved this book. It''s creative, well-plotted and drawn, funny, and deals with meaningful subjects in creative and witty ways. Looking for a good primer on "soft racism" and issues around love, race, and gender? Get ready for a "Good Talk."

Sure, a lot of the subject matter in "Good Talk" is hard to deal with in real life: racism, terrorism, family dynamics, just to name a few. And solutions may be hard to impossible, awkward and uncomfortable. But Jacob''s book makes it clear that, while the topics may be hard, starting to talk about them is important, and is a task that should be started early and revisited often. Her humor, directed in equal parts at the world and at herself, makes this discussion of universal experiences at the same time a very personal narrative.
5 people found this helpful
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M. O.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Essential reading
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2019
I read this in one afternoon. Unputdownable. Not only is it so relevant and relatable (author shares my humor), but it was an eye-opening introduction to graphic novels. I shall be less of a literature snob now! Also, I think that Mira Jacob, by addressing issues to her... See more
I read this in one afternoon. Unputdownable. Not only is it so relevant and relatable (author shares my humor), but it was an eye-opening introduction to graphic novels. I shall be less of a literature snob now! Also, I think that Mira Jacob, by addressing issues to her child, also teaches us how to address these issues to adults who don''t necessarily have a nuanced understanding of being a minority in Tr*mp''s America. Although possibly unintended, it''s a demonstration of how to explain/engage patiently without talking down or being dismissive. I''d call this essential reading...
3 people found this helpful
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The Booklife
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Should be required reading for all humans
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2019
Mira Jacob''s gift is that she can make a reader move from laughter to heartache in the space of two sentences. In this incredible work, she augments this gift with the power of illustration, cleverly making difficult topics easier to grasp and digest. Poignant, important,... See more
Mira Jacob''s gift is that she can make a reader move from laughter to heartache in the space of two sentences. In this incredible work, she augments this gift with the power of illustration, cleverly making difficult topics easier to grasp and digest. Poignant, important, essential-- buy it for the people you need to have a tough conversation with.
6 people found this helpful
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Camila Russell
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A 5 star.
Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2021
Good Talk is a memoir in conversations Mira Jacob has had with different people, such as her parents, her husband, her son, family members, ex-boyfriends, friends and random people she encountered throughout her life, and how those conversations have shaped her and her... See more
Good Talk is a memoir in conversations Mira Jacob has had with different people, such as her parents, her husband, her son, family members, ex-boyfriends, friends and random people she encountered throughout her life, and how those conversations have shaped her and her identity, especially related to race and being an U.S. American.

The author is a daughter of Indian parents, as in the country of India, who immigrated to the United States. Born and raised in the U.S. she then married a white Jewish man with whom she had a mix-raced son. The book focuses on the dichotomy of those two cultures and on the election of Donald Trump, in 2016, and how that affected her view, while also focusing on the big questions her son was asking about politics and about being a brown kid in North America.

With these conversations she discusses about so many themes with such a subtlety and grace, giving the reader these complex issues to talk about. There is also humour between the serious discussions. The book captures the voices of generations of different people living in these uncertain times. I love this book immensely and will highly recommend it.
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Charles Morgan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wow this is sensational!
Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2020
I love the beautiful graphic art and the deeply thought out and emotionally held conversations about what it was like to live in Chelsea during 9-11 through the spectacular rise of Obama and then the horrible defeat for people of color(I believe horrible for all of us in... See more
I love the beautiful graphic art and the deeply thought out and emotionally held conversations about what it was like to live in Chelsea during 9-11 through the spectacular rise of Obama and then the horrible defeat for people of color(I believe horrible for all of us in different ways but too often worse for people of color), when Trump won and how you explain it to a smart precocious child of a loving marriage. Also how we try to cope when any of our loved ones are so out of touch.
One person found this helpful
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Evangeline
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Conversations Add Up
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2021
I bought this book as a Kindle deal without knowing too much about it; I was surprised that is was in the style of a graphic novel. Sometimes that style can be visually overwhelming for me, but the approach was just right as this memoir is rooted in conversations. The... See more
I bought this book as a Kindle deal without knowing too much about it; I was surprised that is was in the style of a graphic novel. Sometimes that style can be visually overwhelming for me, but the approach was just right as this memoir is rooted in conversations. The speech bubbles and illustrations were the perfect choice to carry the intent of the author, Mira Jacob. I was particularly impressed with the way Jacob took so many complex topics and feelings and was able to fashion them into brief interchanges and scenes from everyday life. There''s a lot of writing small about big things in this book, and it''s impactful.
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Top reviews from other countries

Robyn Scharaga
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
read the whole book in one evening because I couldn''t put it down....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 31, 2021
Great book, love the idea and esp the artwork (as an old comic nerd). Really thought-provoking and written like talking to a good friend...
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Maya
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of the best books released this year!
Reviewed in India on August 26, 2020
I enjoyed reading this memoir! This was my first time reading a graphic novel, so I was a little apprehensive whether I would enjoy this medium. The author really has done a great job with this memoir! It''s a honest and seemingly effortless presentation of life as lived by...See more
I enjoyed reading this memoir! This was my first time reading a graphic novel, so I was a little apprehensive whether I would enjoy this medium. The author really has done a great job with this memoir! It''s a honest and seemingly effortless presentation of life as lived by the author - the joys, the blunders, discomforts, uneasiness and the contradictions that the author has lived through as an American of Indian origin married to a Jew and raising this precious kid! If you are raising or are going to raise inter-racial children, like me, this might be especially interesting to you. Thank you for writing this Mira! I am an Indian married to an American Jew too and I often wonder about raising our kids there. Sometimes it feels daunting to even think about it - I know their lives growing up in the US will be too unfamiliar and hard for me to understand/connect with. I worry that I might not have the answers for them or be able to be the ''parent'' or adult because I didn''t grow up there and don''t have the cultural capital to help them navigate their lives. But I guess parenting is about learning, growing and figuring stuff out with your child, like you have been doing. That there''s a lot of it to be done whether or not you grow up in the same country as them. Besides, there''s my husband!
2 people found this helpful
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Abu Amaan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Basically My Guide To Surviving In The USA As An Indian.
Reviewed in India on October 19, 2020
A very personal and insightful autobiography of a very beautiful immigrant Indian lady who goes through all the ups and downs of being an Indian living in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What it''s like being an immigrant? What it''s like being around the Americans? What it''s...See more
A very personal and insightful autobiography of a very beautiful immigrant Indian lady who goes through all the ups and downs of being an Indian living in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What it''s like being an immigrant? What it''s like being around the Americans? What it''s like being culture shocked? Politics? Life? Sex? Love? Racism? Gender? Community? Religion? - This Book Is A Masterpiece Of Life By A Very Beautiful Author, Mira Jacob ♑❤. Very emotional and funny! Extremely funny! Straightforward and honest. Loved and adored the simple illustrations with collage style influence.
One person found this helpful
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Aayu Bajaj- @paintinbooks
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This pretty book is a treat, I loved reading it and recommend it.
Reviewed in India on August 11, 2020
This book gave me a lot of firsts: first time reading a graphic memoir, first time reading a book by Mira Jacob and first time finishing a book in 3 hours at a stretch. The book talks about the journey of Mira as a brown woman in the USA. She talks about her experiences as...See more
This book gave me a lot of firsts: first time reading a graphic memoir, first time reading a book by Mira Jacob and first time finishing a book in 3 hours at a stretch. The book talks about the journey of Mira as a brown woman in the USA. She talks about her experiences as an immigrant and throws light on difficult conversations about race, sex, love and family. Mira finds ways to explain the answers to questions about skin tone, race, life situations asked by her six years old son in a tricky way. Being an Indian, married to a Jewish man and having a mixed race son Z, she often finds it difficult to answer all the questions to her son. But she makes a lot of touching and insightful comments to his questions in a thought provoking way. This book helped me realize the ground realities of living as an immigrant and the picture of the extremely fractured world we live in. The best part is that the author does not try to be politically correct at any point in the book and talks about the issues in a raw, honest, wrenching and fearless way. This pretty book is a treat, I loved reading it and recommend it.
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Vini K.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bad printing, missing pages
Reviewed in India on June 15, 2021
The last page of every chapter is missing, some kind of print issue,but makes it really strange to read with missing pages. As for the comic and illustrations themselves, I find the style and cutout of characters very lazy and half hearted. The conversations between...See more
The last page of every chapter is missing, some kind of print issue,but makes it really strange to read with missing pages. As for the comic and illustrations themselves, I find the style and cutout of characters very lazy and half hearted. The conversations between individuals is interesting but only dealing with issues on a very surface level. It''s very superficial.
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