Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey Book Poster Image
Clever, heartfelt graphic memoir great for girls and boys.

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Kids say

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Dare to Disappoint presents a detailed picture of one girl's experience of growing up in Turkey from 1981 to the end of the 1990s. The book addresses politics, pop culture, and religious practices of the time.

Positive Messages

It's not possible always to please everyone, but it is possible to find happiness by finding your own path in life. It is important to do what you love to do, even if others try to discourage you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

From her early childhood, Ozge Samanci is a bright, inquisitive girl, eager to explore the world. She tries to please her father but gradually realizes that she must follow her own path.


Turkish police beat, torture, and kill citizens. Ozge is hurt in a bus crash. Later, she is assaulted by two men in a park but escapes before she can be abducted. She receives a black eye and is traumatized by the event.


It's unclear how old she is at the time, but teenage Ozge announces that she has slept with her boyfriend. The romance does not last and is not depicted graphically.


A handful of uses of "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ozge's father is a former smoker.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey is an autobiographical graphic novel about artist and writer Ozge Samanci's childhood and teen years. It emphasizes how the Turkish military coup in 1982 affected Ozge's friends, family, and neighbors and deepened the conflict between secularism and fundamentalism in the country. Opponents to the regime are shot, beaten, and tortured (although only a few pages in this account depict those actions). Ozge is assaulted by two men who attempt to abduct her. She escapes but is traumatized by the event. Ozge says she sleeps with her boyfriend, but the romance is short-lived and its physical details not depicted. Strong language is limited to a few uses of "damn."

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTheodosia L June 25, 2018

Honest and cute

This tells the story of a person growing up in Turkey. Being a female the main character Ozge has limited job futures. She stands up to her father who wants he... Continue reading

What's the story?

Growing up on Turkey's Aegean Sea, Ozge has plenty of love and attention from her mother, father, and older sister. But the family has little money, and her father worries about what will happen to her if she doesn't go to the right school and become an engineer. Ozge attempts to follow in the footsteps of her successful sister, but she's more interested in art and theater than in mathematics. The political situation in Turkey makes life even more difficult, as secularism and fundamentalism cause deep rifts in the country and the military runs the "democracy." As Ozge struggles to define her own talents and dreams, she must fight against those who want her to take the supposedly safe, stable path in life.

Is it any good?

With loose, funny, expressive art that captures the main character's many moods and enthusiastic outlook, this autobiographical coming-of-age story has lots of heart and plenty of universal appeal. Ozge Samanci's DARE TO DISAPPOINT: GROWING UP IN TURKEY meticulously depicts a specific time and place, but it will speak to anyone who marches to the beat of a different drummer. Samanci isn't afraid to admit her flaws, but she also has the bravery to stand up for the attributes that make her unique. Dare to Disappoint is a clever, well-observed coming-of-age tale suitable for both girls and boys.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why comics are such a popular and powerful medium. What kinds of stories are best suited for comics?

  • What happens when parents and children have different ideas of what success means? Does following one particular course of education guarantee monetary reward and happiness?

  • What happens when you disappoint other people or when you disappoint yourself? How can you find a way to be proud of yourself and your talents?

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