After the triumph of the greatness of Smile, Raina Telgemeier gives us a wonderful new story, full of characters and situations and topical issues.
In fact, it is full of Drama.
And that is my very dramatic, slightly meta, way to introduce the newest tale from the award-winning creator of Smile. Pulling on the semi-autobiographical strings again, Raina puts the character “representing” her into a new setting and lets us in on this unique story.
Callie is in middle school and absolutely loves the theater. Just completely loves theater. Theater is her life beyond life. The theater is her future, which question. Do you think she likes theater? Yep, she does!
So to scratch this dramatic itch, Callie joins the theater club in order to put on the school play. She is a veteran and loves set design, which quickly becomes her new obsession throughout the rest of the story. The only distraction, besides the behind the scenes shenanigans, is two students who join in as well. These twin boys, one of whom is gay, quickly becomes her new best friends forever. She also quickly starts crushing on the other twin, adding to the angst.
As the musical preparations continue apace, Callie must navigate her feelings, the internal politics of her fellow club members, and learn to keep multiple secrets. Only some of this she does successfully.
To compound her own drama, Callie is determined to get a working “cannon” on stage for the crescendo of one of the musical acts. This subplot builds and builds, with us all rooting her on and trying to help figure this out for her. Ideas are tried, much stress is caused, all to attain this seemingly impossible goal. Will she get the “cannon” to work? Tune into Drama to see the answer for yourself!
To add to the complexity of this journey, Raina decided to make Drama a stage drama as well. In the finest meta tradition, the story of Callie is told in a framing sequence of a play. We have the curtain rising, the actors in place, and into the action we go, with an intermission appropriately placed just over halfway through. You realize this right off the top, which gives the story an unique thrill, and promptly lets us forget all this as we get absorbed into Callie’s travails. So when the intermission hits, it slaps us yet again with its genius. Raina, you outdid yourself with this concept. Very dramatic!
Callie makes you want jump for joy for her passions and excitement for life. It is always interesting and wonderful, and, I have to say it, full of Drama.
…is currently reading It’s Superman! by Tom De Haven.