Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? A Memoir by Roz Chast

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? is cartoonist Roz Chast's funny and emotionally honest memoir about dealing with aging parents.

Chast begins her story in 2001, at a point when her parents were in their nineties and still living in their home in Brooklyn. Elizabeth and George Chast had Russian Jewish heritage. They were completely loyal to each other, but that didn't stop them from engaging in verbal altercations with each other.

Their obstinacy and contrariness drove their only child crazy. Most frustrating was their refusal to discuss anything about their wishes regarding their deaths. A lifetime of difficult family dynamics had left its scars, but Chast also cared deeply about her parents.

We all have family responsibilities, and death is unavoidable, so this personal account has universal appeal. Check out Chast's art, including her covers for the New Yorker, on her website.

Readalikes: Special Exits (Joyce Farmer); and You'll Never Know (Carol Tyler).

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