Roz Chast's moving graphic novel chronicles her parents' lives and final years. You'll recognize her illustrations from cartoons in The New Yorker and other places. She writes with humor, but is also unafraid to talk about the unpleasant: the all-too-serious hardships we face in witnessing our parents getting old. Recommended By Maya M., Powells.com
Roz Chast’s cartoon memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? sneaks up and disarms you with its light tone and humor, but the specific story of losing her parents pulls you right in to the universal experiences of frustration, heartbreak, and guilt. But in a funny way. Seriously. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award
Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society
In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.
While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies — an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades — the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.
An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.
"Revelatory….So many have faced (or will face) the situation that the author details, but no one could render it like she does. A top-notch graphic memoir that adds a whole new dimension to readers' appreciation of Chast and her work." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"An achievement of dark humor that rings utterly true." Washington Post
"Better than any book I know, this extraordinarily honest, searing and hilarious graphic memoir captures (and helps relieve) the unbelievable stress that results when the tables turn and grown children are left taking care of their parents...[A] remarkable, poignant memoir." San Francisco Chronicle
"A tour de force of dark humor and illuminating pathos about her parents' final years as only this quirky genius of pen and ink could construe them." Elle
"By turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Ms. Chast reminds us how deftly the graphic novel can capture ordinary crises in ordinary American lives." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
About the Author
Roz Chast grew up in Brooklyn. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978. Since then, she has published more than one thousand cartoons in the magazine. She has written and illustrated many books, including What I Hate: From A to Z, and the collections of her own cartoons The Party After You Left and Theories of Everything. She is the editor of The Best American Comics 2016 and the illustrator of Calvin Trillin's No Fair! No Fair! and Daniel Menaker's The African Svelte, all published in Fall 2016.