Reading Matters

A friend with aging parents? Buy this book.

Oh, she is so funny. Roz Chast, who is a New Yorker cartoonist. And her – well, I’ll call it sacredly funny – graphic memoir, “Can’t We Talk about Something More Plesant?” that’s just out in paperback.

This is the book to give to the friend who’s struggling with aging parents, parents who, perhaps, are suffering some sort of dementia. Parents who might be moving into a Place, as she calls it. Parents who are losing their grip, their spouses, their lives.

Oh, woe.

But you will double over, I promise.

When Roz slowly begins to recognize her parents might one day need to move out of their Brooklyn apartment (“This was DEEP Brooklyn, she says, the Brooklyn of people who have been left behind by everything and everyone.”) she tries to help her mother clean out her “crazy closet,” which is what her mother called the large, deep closet in the middle of the apartment.

“It was our attic. It contained ancient coats and tattered bathrobes; an assortmentof broken manual typewriters; a couple of those portable ‘record players’ that folded up into a sort of suitcase; several dozen French and Spanish textbooks; a Styrofoam picnic hamper; an old Rexograph machine on which my father used to print French and Spanish tests in his teaching days; every single piece of luggage they had ever bought, all of it decrepit; blankets that hadn’t been unfolded in forty years; and in the spaces left over, purses, ties, galoshes, fly swatters, board games from my childhood, and more clothes. They could not throw anything away.”

You will love this book. And hate it a little, too, because it is so wrenchingly true.