This light but still quietly devastating little travelogue might be the best thing Lucy Knisley has ever written. (Drawn? Created? Mixed media confuse
This light but still quietly devastating little travelogue might be the best thing Lucy Knisley has ever written. (Drawn? Created? Mixed media confuses word choice.)
Her first two travelogues (French Milk and An Age of License) were explorations of her own maturation as she saw different parts of the world, but this one is on a whole other level. Her grandparents Allen and Phyllis are 93 and 90 years old respectively, and have signed up to go on a Caribbean cruise with a group from their assisted living facility. They weren't big travelers when they were young and mobile, so this decision perplexes their family. Not to mention both of them aren't capable of handling daily living by themselves, let alone a stressful trip in strange surroundings. None of their children can make it on the cruise, so Lucy volunteers to accompany them as their caregiver on their week long vacation.
What follows is an account of Lucy's frustrations, fears, anger and sadness as she's confronted head on with just how in decline her grandparents (whom she calls her grands) are. Her grandfather is still mostly there mentally, but is severely physically limited, and her grandmother has dementia. Both retired schoolteachers, they have been married for sixty-seven years. Lucy channels her frustrations and loneliness at caring for them in a setting where you're meant to be with family or partners. Her grandmother in particular is challenging because she was extremely stern and emotionally reserved even when she was healthy, and now her fading memory means she experiences setbacks all the time that are just aggravated by being in a place she isn't familiar with.
Amidst all this new scenery as she cares for them, she takes the opportunity to reflect on her relationship with her own parents, what her father's relationship with his parents must have been like (the grands in this book), and her own mortality. Sandwiched in between all of that, she ends every chapter (which each cover a day in the trip) with an illustrated excerpt of her grandfather's WWII memoir. The contrast between the stories he tells of his time in the Air Force as a young man really put into new perspective his current day life.
As for the art itself, it's her best yet. The deceivingly simple style that she favors is perfect for capturing the devastation (and the beauty and humor and joy) of all the smaller moments in life. Her use of line and color is just perfect. It is quite simply a beautiful book in every way you can think of, and I'm so glad I read it....more
3.5 stars, really. I liked the art a lot, and the writing was pretty good as well. Poe's mother Shara Bey is the main character of this one, although3.5 stars, really. I liked the art a lot, and the writing was pretty good as well. Poe's mother Shara Bey is the main character of this one, although his father Kes Dameron makes appearances, too. It takes place in the month after the destruction of the second Death Star, as Shara goes on missions with all of the Big Three, and as the characters in this comic all keep saying, the Empire doesn't seem to have realized they lost. The first issue and Bey's mission with Han was just meh, but I really liked the Leia and Luke issues, mostly because both Leia and Luke got to kick serious ass. I actually really liked returning to Naboo, as well, but it bothered me that nobody brought up that Leia is the daughter of their former queen. Did she not know at this point? Luke was just a badass throughout his entire appearance.
The final issue included in here was actually the first issue of Mark Waid's Princess Leia series. It was okay. I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the rest....more
"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."
I finished this book at one AM on a work night, when"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."
I finished this book at one AM on a work night, when I had to be up at 6 AM the next morning. I did this even though I knew I would feel like shit the next morning, because I just couldn't help myself. I was thinking, boy, I should go to bed! I'm going to regret this tomorrow (and probably the days after)! And then I just kept reading. That is the power of this book. In the morning, my eyes were so dry I thought they were going to go all sleep monster on me:
I actually went into this book expecting to have a good time reading it, but not expecting to be very impressed. I will admit I have a snobby bias against books that are ghostwritten, especially ones "written" by celebrities. I just assume they're all money grabs. But once I got into this book, it took hold of me. Leah Remini is a pistol. She's brash and loudmouthed and admits that many people find her incredibly annoying. Right on the very first page, she admits to having done some terrible things. She says her family and her husband have done terrible things. But then you realize why she's telling you all this, and it's because she knows the Church of Scientology would have used all that information against in an effort to discredit her once the book came out. So she did it for them. It's a powerful way to start out her story.
And her story ended up being fascinating. I know there are other published memoirs of people who grew up in the church, but I've never read one before. My knowledge has mostly come from books like Going Clear (and its subsequent HBO film), which focuses on the history of L. Ron Hubbard and his church, and the more organizational aspects of it. Reading it from the perspective of one of its parishioners (this is what Leah calls them, so I will too, even though I would prefer to call them cult members) was fascinating. She walks you through the whole thing, her way of thinking, how and why the religion meant so much to her, what her life was like because of it. And all the while you're horrified by what Scientology does to her and those around her, you also understand how she could remain so dedicated and loyal for so long. That's how cults work--they are designed to hook people and keep them.
Leah Remini's book is a fascinating artifact of a person who survived a cult. You can see the way her thinking is shaped by her experiences, and you can see how she resists. Her story is a good one for this type of book because she saw and experienced so many different aspects of the religion, as an early (and failed) member of the SeaOrg, as a standard parishioner, and after she'd worked her way up in Hollywood, as one of the church's celebrity VIPs, for a while in the inner circle with Tom Cruise. And you can see that it's only after she's completely out of the church that the full scope of what Scientology has done occurs to her. These were actually the most fascinating parts for me, when she talked about the work she's had to do, the therapy, to essentially deprogram her brain. I wish there had been more of it, but then, she's only been out for two years, and still has a long road ahead of her.
If you like Leah as an actress, and if you are interested in Scientology or cults, I would definitely recommend this. Her particular and very unique voice shines through, even though the book is ghostwritten by Rebecca Paley, who acquits herself very well in making her writing presence as invisible as possible....more