A cartoonist's take on aging

"Can't we talk about something more pleasant?

The quirky cartoonist for the New Yorker, Roz Chast, has a new book out called "Can't we talk about something more pleasant?" It's a graphic novel of her parents' decline that is touching, funny, sad and all too familiar. An only child, Chast bore the brunt of her parents' transition from independence to complete dependence, indignity and death.

Despite the topic, Chast's insights are often very funny. In recalling her childhood, she includes a Wheel of Doom, which lists some "cautionary tales" to keep her aware of life's hazards. Included on the Wheel of Doom: a headache, then dead; friend's son killed by baseball; friend nearly blinded by mascara-causing infection.  She also plumbs the parental dynamic amusingly and with great insight.

This book will be especially meaningful for those whose parents are downsizing in preparation for a move to a retirement facility, or who are moving quickly toward death. In its humorous, frank way, it shares some of the mileposts in that journey, which can be confusing, lonely and poignant. 

--Julie C., Headquarters

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