Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

A Memoir

Graphic Novel - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through a mixture of cartoons, family photos, 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
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781608198061
Branch Call Number: GN BIO Chast, R 2014
Characteristics: 228 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 08, 2018

I really enjoyed this memoir! Roz Chast's story about how her parents dealt with old age made this graphic novel worth reading. One thing that this story brought to mind is the fact that none of us can choose who our parents are.

Jul 03, 2018

My mom is going through the exact same thing with her parents, only my grandma is the one with dementia, and my grandpa is the one who's health is failing! Unlike Ms. Chast, she lives in California, and they live in Michigan, so my aunt and uncle handle all the on-the-ground, day to day stuff, while my mother handles all the financial matters! Luckily, my mom has three younger siblings, also unlike Ms. Chast, so she doesn't have to deal with all this on her own!

Jun 25, 2018

Nothing pleasant about this book. Written by an only daughter that wants to whine about her childhood and parents. She moved out and didn't visit for 10 years. She comments on the grime in there apartment. Where was she when grime was building up? She says it was too hard and too time consuming,expensive and emontionally exhausting to visit them in person !
Thats when I stopped reading. I visited my Dad twice a day.

JCLStefanieE May 30, 2018

Somehow Chast makes it fun to read about a very serious and avoided subject - aging and dying parents. An important true story in graphic novel format. Larger written text makes it easy for large print readers to enjoy too.

Apr 30, 2018

I must confess it was with some skepticism I approached CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? It was my first graphic novel, one I had to read for book group, and I didn’t know what to expect. I shouldn’t have had doubts. From the start, I was totally absorbed by author Roz Chast’s memoir which follows her experiences with her aging parents during the last years of their lives. Many color cartoons, family photos, and documents add to Chast’s clever narration—making it all the more real and poignant. The book deals with a difficult topic and one that’s relevant for many who face the challenge of coping with elderly parents and end-of-life decisions. This is an honest, personal account full of wit, wisdom, tears, and ultimately acceptance. Roz Chast has gained a new fan!

VaughanPLDaniela Apr 10, 2018

Laugh-out-loud hilarious, heartbreaking, raw and relatable, I couldn't put it down. There's something about this memoir that really speaks to the soul in all its layers.

JCLDebbieF Jul 06, 2017

An important read for anyone facing the process of caring for elderly parents. I was fascinated with Ms. Chast's story and identified with her anger, guilt and sorrow. It actually relieved some of the guilt I have when dealing with my own parents. It made me laugh and cry.

Apr 29, 2017

Who doesn't love Roz Chast? Her cartoons hit the mark and often say what we're thinking but might be too polite to say ourselves. This is her hand-written memoir through drawings and comments about her aging parents accompanied by thoughts about her relationship with them over the years. It is sure to hit home with many of us who have had to deal with the same thing. Her poignant photographs of 48 years accumulation of stuff in their apartment brought back memories of trying to figure out how to deal with the same thing in my own parents' home. Each item is fraught with personal history.

There are many things that parents (and others) don't want to talk about. I'm glad that Roz Chast chose to share those things with us.

Feb 11, 2017

Okay this story was depressing, even though I knew that going in. It made me examine the dynamics of death and what happens when your parents grow old. It was a fascinating, raw, honest look into such relationships as well as the struggles. Roz was honest with her feelings, both positive and negative, about the whole journey. I found it fascinating and interesting about something we all have to go through at one point or another.

Sep 11, 2016

Recommended for anyone with aging parents, or for all of us who are getting on in years and will soon find ourselves in this situation. Good companion book: "They Left Us Everything" by Plum Johnson. Both tell the gritty details of aging and the changes it brings, when the aldut and child roles are reversed

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Apr 30, 2018

It's no accident that most ads are pitched to people in their 20s and 30s. Not only are they so much cuter than their elders...but they are less likely to have gone through the transformative process of cleaning out their deceased parents' stuff. Once you go through that, you can never look at YOUR stuff in the same way.” - p. 122


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at KHCPL

To Top