I remember when Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast came out. The reviews were great. I love Roz Chast, I've enjoyed her cartoons in the New Yorker for years. So why didn't I buy the book?
Recently I was shopping at Barnes & Noble with my daughter, looking for a birthday present, a "funny" book for one of her friends who is... well, a little earnest. I suggested David Sedaris (of course) and my daughter shook her head. "She doesn't get irony," my daughter said. When I spotted Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, that seemed to have potential. A graphic novel - hey, it's got pictures!
But a book about a middle-aged woman dealing with her aging parents, probably not great reading for an earnest, un-ironic eighteen year old.
However, it turned out to be perfect for me.
It's very very funny, very very moving. Honest, engaging. Painful at times. Sometimes so difficult it makes you "bats," as Roz Chast says. But a beautiful book that reminds us about how complicated it is to be part of a family.