Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey

illus. by Özge Samanci. 200p. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374316983.
RedReviewStarGr 6 Up—Samanci's graphic novel memoir is a humorous and moving portrayal of coming-of-age in Turkey in the turbulent 1980s. The story makes the political personal in ways that are perfectly accessible to young teens. Samanci's narrative is peppered with engaging details of her childhood experiences, including her relationships with her parents, uncle, and sister; the grueling educational system; and the difficult reality of growing up female in a politically and religiously polarized society. Throughout it all, Samanci struggles with her conflicting desires for success, happiness, and, above all, the approval of her critical father. The style of cartoon illustration combined with mixed media is used to great effect. In several places, the author employs rubber stamps to create pictures of people and concepts that were important to her when she was a child. The muted color scheme and stark backgrounds evoke the political and cultural tone of Turkish society. While there is some violence, it is used sparingly and is presented as an integral part of the narrative.
VERDICT In the growing body of graphic novel memoirs, this one is a standout.

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