Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best of 2014: Memoir as graphic novel

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2014, recommended for your consideration:

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
A memoir in graphic novel form
by New Yorker cartoonist
Roz Chast

In this illustrated memoir, Chast chronicles her experiences dealing with the mental and physical decline of both of her parents, who are extremely codependent. She details their health scares, talking (or not talking) to them about their wills, moving them into assisted living facilities, and just the eccentric ways they live their daily lives. This sounds like heavy material, but Chast deals with it in a humorous and touching manner. She does not gloss over the aggravating details of caring for her increasingly needy parents, and you can see how creating this book was a form of therapy for her. Because it is a graphic novel, we get to see the true essence of the story distilled into a picture that often made me laugh out loud or want to cry.

Even though it's a graphic novel, I think the subject matter is something only adults would appreciate. It is unpleasant to think about your parents passing away, but Chast is so refreshingly honest about a topic no one wants to talk about, I think many people will find it comforting to know they are not alone.

Chosen by Laura M., reference librarian

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