Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir

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 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"
Publisher: [New York] : Bloomsbury, 2014
ISBN: 9781608198061
Branch Call Number: 741.5973 CHAST CHAST


From Library Staff

Winner in the Autobiography category.

List - Happiness
GreenwichFiction Jan 16, 2015

"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 a... Read More »

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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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Jul 03, 2018

My mom is going through the exact same thing with her parents, only my grandma is the one with dementia, and my grandpa is the one who's health is failing! Unlike Ms. Chast, she lives in California, and they live in Michigan, so my aunt and uncle handle all the on-the-ground, day to day stuff, while my mother handles all the financial matters! Luckily, my mom has three younger siblings, also unlike Ms. Chast, so she doesn't have to deal with all this on her own!

Jun 25, 2018

Nothing pleasant about this book. Written by an only daughter that wants to whine about her childhood and parents. She moved out and didn't visit for 10 years. She comments on the grime in there apartment. Where was she when grime was building up? She says it was too hard and too time consuming,expensive and emontionally exhausting to visit them in person !
Thats when I stopped reading. I visited my Dad twice a day.

JCLStefanieE May 30, 2018

Somehow Chast makes it fun to read about a very serious and avoided subject - aging and dying parents. An important true story in graphic novel format. Larger written text makes it easy for large print readers to enjoy too.

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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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