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

86%

8 Critic Reviews

No one has perfect parents and no one can write a perfect book about her relationship to them. But Chast has come close.
-NY Times

Synopsis

#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.

 

About Roz Chast

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Roz Chast was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978. Since then she has published hundreds of cartoons and written or illustrated more than a dozen books. This is her first memoir. She lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
 
Published May 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury USA. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Comics & Graphic Novels, Arts & Photography, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
All: 8 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 23 2014

A top-notch graphic memoir that adds a whole new dimension to readers’ appreciation of Chast and her work.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Mar 10 2014

Like Raymond Briggs’s classic Ethel and Ernest, this is a cartoon memoir to laugh and cry, and heal, with—Roz Chast’s masterpiece.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Alex Witchel on May 30 2014

No one has perfect parents and no one can write a perfect book about her relationship to them. But Chast has come close.

Read Full Review of Can't We Talk about Something... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on May 05 2014

Along with her cartoons, her photos and her text, these elements come together to create a powerful collage memorial to her parents — an attempt, at once, to come to terms with them and to remember the daily churn and comforts of their lives.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Jul 13 2014

A memoir of decrepitude – specifically, the decrepitude of her batty parents – her brilliant new book is honest, plangent and thoroughly ghoulish. But it's also hystericall...Truly, this is the best, most singular work Chast has ever done, and you should rush out and buy it, for yourself and for everyone you know. We're all headed here in the end.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Lk Hanson on May 17 2014

This isn’t a happy story...but in the hands of this gifted artist — one of the best cartoonist/writers anywhere — the story is made deeply personal, more so by Chast’s superb drawings and hand-lettered text, which give it the feeling of a journal or diary

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Douglas Wolk on May 01 2014

...there's genuine tenderness beneath her scribbled, glowering caricatures, and turning her family's slow disaster into gallows humor is clearly an act of love.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Nov 23 2016

In short, this book should be read by anyone with parents, or anyone who had them. It faces up to a subject we do not think of unless we have to. And we all do have to, eventually, if life has ordered itself correctly. I can vouch for its veracity, but it may make you think of taking up smoking: old age is not for sissies.

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