Lovefool 09.10.12 | Drama-Llama-Ding-Dong!

Lovefool’s got homework this week. Her assignment: Raina (Smile) Telgemeier’s Drama, a romance set in the drama-filled world of middle school theatre.





Last time I was in St. Louis, which is about two weeks ago but feels like a thousand years, I had breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. JG,FE, along with Baby JG,FE, at the Bottleworks. Besides giving me the opportunity to determine that Baby JG,FE is my favorite member of their family now, I got to catch up with some friends and we did not discuss the column at all, even a little bit. The only time it even remotely came up was when JG,FE handed a book to me, directly and across the breakfast table. Due to geography issues, that’s fairly rare but has never really happened much in any format, the last time being a heads up about last weekend’s Archie…thing. That was in April. And it’s not that he’s a neglectful editor but he typically leaves me to my own devices. So, when it happens, the direct guidance principle generally causes the object of the hand off to immediately get bumped to the top of the pile. I mean, The Boss Has Spoken.
So I read Raina Telgemeier’s Drama over coffee and Irish electropop this morning. And, my, the kids grow up fast these days, don’t they? Drama takes place during and around and interwoven through a middle school production, but the onstage action is only a small part of the draaaaaamah and it all feels much, much older than the setting indicates it is. I mean, I didn’t accidentally try to date any gay guys during a school musical production until at least 10th grade and I certainly never then went on to be interested in their siblings.
Wait, did I?
Ahem. Anyway. Time moves on in this world, at least. I kind of feel like this is a continuation of last week because we’re hanging out in school again this week but this book gently, oh so gently, deals with the issues that actual teenagers are dealing with these days. Drama is printed in glorious full color and looks more than a little manga-inspired and, reflecting the super-fun look of the book, Raina’s Callie lives a pretty fun life. There are moments of actual emotion and actual situations that teenagers run into, but Callie seems remarkably well-adjusted and like she’s having a good time. The inevitable love affairs go wrong but end up okay because, hey, it’s middle school. We moved on in a day in middle school, I think.
Either way, it’s all very refreshing to see teenagers being teenagers but still acknowledging that life can get a little weird, even if you’re just 13. Callie and a few of her friends, twins Justin and Jesse, end up in the back of their dad’s vaguely embarrassing van on the way to various places fairly often. She fights with her friend, Liz, over silly things, and they make up. Really, it’s not that different from my life now except I’m the one with the vaguely embarrassing car, despite my undying affection for the erinmobile. And the course of young love, as I tell you all the time, nerdlings, never runs smooth and it’s not about to start here. I’ll resist the urge to spoil the ending of the book because it’s such an action-packed chapter, but everyone ends up in their right places, even if it’s a little wrenching to watch them get there.
And isn’t that great? Remember when you’d end up tumbling through some adventure as a kid (or two weeks ago) and you’d come out the other side of it, finally, and you’d dust yourself off and say “Well, that turned out okay.” And off you’d go to whatever the future held and it’d be rinse and repeat until whenever, with the adventures getting bigger and better and weirder? And sometimes you stumble and fall but there’s always something, and not necessarily someone, just over the horizon and doesn’t it look great? Our Callie, ending the book as the drama department’s Stage Manager Impending, has learned something valuable about life and it’s that you don’t always get what you want or what you’re expecting but sometimes what you need pops right out of the woodwork and you’re like “Oh. Hey. I see. I see. Right.” And isn’t that the greatest lesson we can learn? How to improvise? How to move on around life’s momentary bumps in the road? How to work around all the drama to end up where we’re supposed to be? | Erin Jameson
Learn more about Drama at Raina Telegemeier’s website, And if you dug this week’s column, head over to the Twitters and tell the Lovefool herself, @erinsometimes.

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