"This graphic memoir by a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning offers a deeply personal meditation on the "the talk" parents must have with Black children about racism and the brutality that often accompanies it, a ritual attempt to keep kids safe and prepare them for a world that-to paraphrase Toni Morrison-does not love them. Darrin Bell was six years old when his mother told him he couldn't play with a white friend's realistic water gun. "She told me I'm a lot more likely to be shot by police than my friend was if they saw me with it, because police tend to think little Black boys-even light-skinned ones-are older than they really are, and less innocent than they really are." Bell examines how "the talk" has shaped nearly every moment of his life into adulthood and fatherhood. Through evocative original illustrations, The Talk is a meditation on this coming-of-age-as Bell becomes painfully aware of being regarded as dangerous by white teachers, neighbors, and strangers, and thus of his mortality. Drawing attention to the brutal murders of African Americans like Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, and showcasing his award-winning cartoons along the way, Bell takes us up to the very moment of reckoning when people took to the streets protesting the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and when he must have "the talk" with a six-year-old son of his own"--
The book skips between vignettes from Bell's life, and I was often frustrated by not knowing what happened in the gaps between as we're given tantalizing sketches of other members of his family and his own career that never get the full development they seem to deserve. So I guess I'm complaining that this thick graphic novel isn't twice as long . . .
All the praise and positive press is well deserved--I do not give out more than three stars lightly and this book easily warrants all five. Bell is a highly skilled storyteller, cartoonist, and explainer of complicated things. It is a fast read, but each page and each image is also packed with meaning -- please read and share widely.
This novel goes from Bell’s coming of age story where he finds his voice through cartooning and becomes well aware of just how
There’s a lot to process in this book - a lot that Black Americans have to go through just to live their day to day lives. It’s honest. It’s raw. It’s very moving.