A charming comic memoir from a young cook and cartoonist. Creator Lucy Knisley walks us through her life so far, taking us from an early girlhood in NA charming comic memoir from a young cook and cartoonist. Creator Lucy Knisley walks us through her life so far, taking us from an early girlhood in New York City to growing up in the country, where her mother moved to start a garden and a catering business. Along with her early life, Knisley covers the meals that have meant the most to her, from chocolate-chip cookies to fresh-from-the-soil mushrooms.
It's an enjoyable read. Her voice and her art are fresh and appealing. The writing has a welcome enthusiasm as well as some nice side gags when it comes to the illustrated recipes. The art is expressive and clean, with a beautiful use of color.
At the same time, the story feels a little slight. Knisley is still very young when we reach the endpoint of this graphic memoir, and it didn't seem like there was enough experience here to add up to a fully realized narrative. Indeed, the story is as much about her parents as herself, and she's very careful to cast them in a positive light, even when their judgment may be questionable. (Her father's suggested womanizing, for instance, or her mother's perhaps overcasual care when traveling with teens in foreign countries.)
At the same time, despite her protests about being a broke student, Knisley seems a little blind to her own privilege. Not every wannabe foodie or artist gets trips to Mexico and Japan in under their belts before they're fifteen. Nor do they have an expert chef in their household, an extended culinary support network or lifelong access to gourmet treats.
Still, Knisley is very open, appealing and likable. I'd enjoy seeing other work by her when she's not the primary focus. Some sketches here of the kitchen at Alinea offer a start at a fascinating alternative....more
New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast offers an honest, moving and occasionally very funny illustrated look at the decline and death of her parents. LifelonNew Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast offers an honest, moving and occasionally very funny illustrated look at the decline and death of her parents. Lifelong New Yorkers, Chast's parents make it to to their 90s in the same Brooklyn apartment she grew up in, one that she happily fled upon reaching college. Her forceful, domineering mom and her anxious, hapless dad make for a yin-and-yang pair, and neither is quick to concede that they're entering a stage where they need help, even as Chast balances her sense of duty with an understandable reluctance to get involved in their lives and drama.
Eventually, the parents' decline goes too far for them to stay in their home, and they move to an assisted-living facility near Chast in Connecticut. Chast takes on the near full-time duty of overseeing their care (the real hands-only aspects of care are farmed out, as she notes), and in these pages she balances the guilt of time spent away with the real difficulties of their decline. Her father suffers deeply from Alzheimers and, later, physical ills, and her mother hangs on long past what even the hospice workers expected would be possible.
Throughout, Chast's scratchy, lively drawings and funny, neurotric voice capture the costs, financial and otherwise, of the whole process as well as the tenderness and frustration she feels toward her dad and the distance she could never bridge with her "always in charge" mother. The book is sad, funny and real. It offers a preview of that which most of us fear is inevitably coming, for our parents and, later, ourselves....more