How do you select the next book to read? For me it is often from reviews or blogs or when a cover catches my eye as I walk by or put a book out for display, but I think the best suggestions come from friends. I just finished Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant because a friend recommended it and it is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I was hesitant at first; Chast is the brilliant cartoonist for the New Yorker, but illustrated novels or memoirs are not my cup of tea.
Chast tells the story of her parents George and Elizabeth’s final years with drawings and photos. It is funny, laugh out loud funny – so funny that you want to find someone and read them the passage or show them the cartoon and have them laugh with you. It is also heartbreakingly poignant. Her parents have no desire to leave their Brooklyn apartment; their home since marriage. The home that Chast discovered had become through benign neglect a hoarders paradise and more and more unfit for her aged parents. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is about escape and return, avoidance and confrontation, about coming face to face with the reality we are all growing older and that our parents will not live forever. And I really want to talk about it. Please read it and let’s chat.