REVIEW: Roz Chast’s Memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

roz chast

A caregiving memoir you’ll really identify with

Roz Chast is a professional cartoonist and illustrator who captured her personal story about caring for her parents as they grew older and sicker. It’s titled Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and was one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2014.

Chast was an only child, living in Connecticut, but cared for her parents who lived in Brooklyn. Her journey started in 2001 and ends with her mother’s death in 2009. Her father passed away in 2007.


Why this book is different

There are many books written by former caregivers and they’re each wonderful in their own way. What makes Roz Chast’s memoir stand out are her cartoon-style drawings.

They transmit her feelings so well, we can feel her annoyance when her father’s incessant chatter drives her up the wall. The pictures bring her anxiety-filled childhood to life and explains her (still) complicated relationship with her overbearing mother.


She perfectly captures the funny and crazy moments

While there is sadness, this book is far from depressing. It’s a real-life view of Chast’s caregiving journey. She remembers the funny things and crazy stories and captures them all in hilarious drawings.


Our favorite caregiving scenarios from the book

Chast is an excellent storyteller and entertains us with scenes that we’re all too familiar with:

  • Living an hour or two away, having her own children and husband, and just really not wanting to deal with her parents and their increasing needs.
  • Hating the ever-worsening grime and clutter in their apartment.
  • Trying to convince them (unsuccessfully) that they need more help in the house.
  • That first horrific episode of incontinence (the really messy kind)!
  • Those middle of the night phone calls when something happens…

View excerpts of the book on the New Yorker website. These scenes are taken from various points in her journey and are a great way to preview the book before buying.


Bottom line

We love this book and recommend it to any current or former caregiver as well as any family members. It doesn’t matter if you’re caring for a parent, spouse, relative, or friend, this book is beautifully illustrated, well-written, and a lighter way to get acquainted with caregiving and aging.


Next Step  Check out the customer reviews of Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? at Amazon


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: The New Yorker


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