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Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (MC Reads 2018-19): About the Book

For the 2018-2019 academic year, MC Reads! has chosen:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Book Cover


"In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”-with predictable results-the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed. 

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies-an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades-the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care. 

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller." - from the publisher



#1 New York Times Bestseller
2014 National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize in nonfiction
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award 
Winner of the 2014 Books for a Better Life Award
Winner of the 2015 Reuben Award from National Cartoonists Society

Roz Chast reads from Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? at 2014 NBA Finalists Reading

Roz Chast reads from Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? at 2014 NBA Finalists Reading from National Book Foundation on Vimeo.

Audio--Roz Chast

Award-winning cartoonist and Big Read author draws the lines of absurdity

Podcast link


From NEA Big Read

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