Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
Published 6 May 2014 By Bloomsbury USA
Summary: #1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
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.
When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.
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; managing logistics; 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 will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.
Heartbreaking, raw and hilarious all in one, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of the best graphic memoirs I have read so far.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a story of the author and her parents. They’re a little bit quirky but absolutely adorable. I kept turning the pages and finished it in one sitting.
Can’t We Talk About takes for a more heart-wrenching turn when her parents fall ill and she struggled with medical bills, taking care of them and having to juggle her parents and her family. It was increasingly difficult for her to cope, as evidently, it was difficult for her parents to cope being apart from each other.
Can’t We Talk About made me weep. I kept thinking of my own parents and now that they’re ageing I wonder what the future will be like. It is impossible to not look at your own life and your parents’ lives when reading this book — it makes you think so much about what is going to happen (or has happened). I absolutely loved her parents. Their love for each other is eternal, and its evident even to the end. It is heartwarming to read about it and I feel like the memoir has given me an opportunity to witness true love.
I’ve been reading a lot of memoir graphic novels as of late, and this is one that will stay with me for a very long time. Its such a simple and accessible story, yet so powerful and packed with emotions. It is raw and beautiful, especially the sketches of her mother at the end. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it.