So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

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

George and Elizabeth Chast were born of immigrant Jewish parents 10 days apart in 1912 in the same neighborhood of New York City. when they married they lived together in the same Brooklyn apartment their whole lives and had one child, a daughter named Roz. George was a teacher and Elizabeth an assistant principle in the city schools. When Roz grew up she became a book illustrator and cartoonist for the New Yorker and other magazines. She had two children and moved to Connecticut.
Roz Chast uses drawings and text to explore her complex and conflicted relationship with her elderly parents from 2001 until their deaths in 2007 and 2009 as she is called on to care for them through their declining years. It is a memoir in graphic novel format with occasional photographs.
She is best at depicting her own insecurities and feelings as she is drawn deeper and deeper into the care of her parents. From occasional visits to Brooklyn to moving them to a facility nearby in Connecticut we see how she resists and accepts her evolving role as caretaker. Through memories and photos we learn of their early lives together.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to get an in depth and personal look at the process of caring for elderly parents. My mother is 95, and she and I are on Chapter 11 of this book as she marks her first anniversary in an assisted living facility. I read this book twice and plan to read it again. Even if you don't have aging parents, but are getting old yourself, this is an eye-opener for what is in store.

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