Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
I don't think I could have read this book earlier than this year. It would have been far too painful, living with, and then losing, my own mother, who was of the same generation as Roz Chast's parents in this wonderful graphic-memoir. Chast's brilliant cartoons in the New Yorker have long been favorites. In her memoir, she turns her sharp eye to what so many of us are in the midst of now: our parents' journey through elder years to the end. It's not an easy subject, but Chast is both brutally honest, and piercingly true to the pitfalls (many), insights (some), and the humor (readily available) that comes in this part of life. Though my parents came from similar backgrounds as hers, the evolution of character was completely different. My father died shockingly young, so I was spared his aging foibles. My mother, a completely guileless, and completely giving woman, died in her upper 80's. (When I say guileless, I do mean it. My brother once commented that the word "Gullible" was not in the dictionary, and she believed him.) She was, perhaps, the antithesis of Chast's mother. But the worries, fears, concerns, hopes that Chast depicts in her memoir/graphics really hit home. Been there. Done that. I miss the crap out of my mother.