Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

[a Memoir]

Book - 2014
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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 a mixture of cartoons, family photos, 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.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781608198061
1608198065
Branch Call Number: 362.6 Ch
Description: 228 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 25 cm

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Biting, occasionally dark humor in graphic novel form from the loving and frustrated daughter whose parents didn't want to talk about the inevitable.


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TheresaAJ
Nov 12, 2019

Roz Chast, the well-known New Yorker cartoonist, applies her trade to this graphic novel memoir that chronicles the old age and death of her parents, George and Elizabeth. An only child born to parents in their 40s, Roz was never totally at ease with her parents, especially her domineering mother. Elizabeth, a New York City Public Schools Assistant Principal for decades, would routinely cower anyone with "a blast from Chast". As Roz struggles to deal with her elderly parents, she also explores her complex, unresolved relationship with her mother. Both funny and heartbreaking, this is a must book for anyone with elderly parents.

STPL_JessH Sep 19, 2019

Can we talk about how amazing this graphic novel is?! I LOVE it! I am still recommending it to anyone willing to read it. I really admire the way Chast is able to make me laugh out loud in a tale that is too often tragic and too often familiar.

ArapahoeIrinaB Jun 28, 2019

This is a tough one. Rather painful memoir of aging, unstable and very sick parents. The author is torn between irritation and love, desperately trying to solve continuous endless problems of all kinds - from financial to personal hygiene. Her writing style is honest and sincere. She is not shy about expressing the whole specter of her feelings and emotions towards her parents, whom she certainly loves infinitely and therefore she does everything possible for them. Due to her style, she draws a very realistic picture of the complex relationship between the closest beloved relatives.

Groszerita May 16, 2019

I can't stop recommending this book! It's so full of laugh out loud and teary eyed moments! It's for adults who have aging parents.

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bonpar
Apr 25, 2019

Terrific book! I wasn't sure I would like it because of it's format, but I loved it. The content is terrific, very realistic and relatable. I've been through this life stage and thought the book would be very sad, but it is humorous and encouraging, in that the author did make it though successfully. It's cautionary about the many defects in options for elder care. If money is limited, you are in for a rough ride.

LoganLib_JennyI Jan 03, 2019

Roz Chast is a fine contemporary cartoonist. I laughed and cried during this story. Chast writes and draws this memoir about caring and making decisions for her own aging parents in a soul bearing and relatable way. Chast makes fun of her own and her family's idiosyncrasies.
The strong, but difficult love between her parents and her own complicated love for her parents shines through. Chast really nails the self doubt and sense of guilt that plague many people navigating this new relationship with aging parents.
A most enjoyable read.

a
alcad
Dec 10, 2018

As someone who has recently been on a binge of the graphic memoir genre, this might be my favorite yet. One of the only books in recent memory that actually had me crying and laughing out loud. For whatever reason I initially thought I wasn't going to like the art style, but it grew on me quickly and I certainly wouldn't/couldn't separate it from the words.

b
BritCrimeDramaFan
Dec 07, 2018

Found Chast's style funny, yet touching, and certainly touched a nerve in all of us who have cared for aging parents and are aging ourselves. Caricatures are simple, but with her New Yorker pedigree, lend credence to her biography of her parents' lives. Worth the read!

Many of us in our `middle ages` are dealing with aging parents in various stages of decline. Roz Chast, the writer and New Yorker cartoonist, uses the graphic novel format to document her journey through this challenging time in her memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Image result for can't we talk about something more pleasant

From first noticing that things seem to be `falling apart`, to realizing that she must take control of the uncontrollable, and then on through moving her parents into care, and experiencing their passing, Chast weaves her story with humour, grace, and brutal honesty.

The most important messages I took from this endearing memoir are that:

we are not alone,
having a sense of humour is a survival skill, and,
in the midst of complicated family relationships and challenging situations there is still, always, love.
(Submitted by KS).

a
abbi_g
Sep 08, 2018

I really enjoyed this memoir! Roz Chast's story about how her parents dealt with old age made this graphic novel worth reading. One thing that this story brought to mind is the fact that none of us can choose who our parents are.

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TheresaAJ
Nov 12, 2019

"The 'bankbooks' were a collection of canceled and uncanceled bankbooks dating back to at least the 1960s. As I said, they never threw anything away. These were the same accounts that earned them all those blenders. Many of them were from banks that didn't even exist anymore."

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cknightkc
Apr 30, 2018

It's no accident that most ads are pitched to people in their 20s and 30s. Not only are they so much cuter than their elders...but they are less likely to have gone through the transformative process of cleaning out their deceased parents' stuff. Once you go through that, you can never look at YOUR stuff in the same way.” - p. 122

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