Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years” as Want to Read:
Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,655 ratings  ·  386 reviews
From the creator of the iconic "Cathy" comic strip comes her first collection of funny, wise, poignant, and incredibly honest essays about being a woman in what she lovingly calls "the panini generation."

As the creator of "Cathy," Cathy Guisewite found her way into the hearts of readers more than forty years ago, and has been there ever since. Her hilarious and deeply rela
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lorraine Yes, I think so many chapters speak to life for a woman of a certain age - maybe even younger women.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,655 ratings  ·  386 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

Ultimately, feminism is about empowering women and providing them with the agency to not just make their choices, but to make those choices in an environment where their opportunities for success and for failure in all domains are equal to those of other genders. People have a lot of ideas about what is and isn't feminist and often, things like the Cathy comics and books like BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY are placed firmly in the "isn't" categor
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
“Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault” is one of my favorite books so far this year and I’m confident it will be one of my best books for all of 2019. Cathy Guisewite’s essays about being in the sandwich (or panini generation as she aptly calls it) were poignant, endearing, heartwarming, and hilarious. I can’t remember the last time I actually laughed out loud while reading a book, but “Fifty Things” was truly that kind of funny. And there were tears too, tears of recognition and understanding.

Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure which I did more of while reading this wonderful book: chuckle out loud or wipe away tears. It helps, I suppose, that I was a huge fan of the author's long-running "Cathy" comic strip. Perhaps more important, while I'm older than she is by nine years, I, too, was a champion of the feminist movement (still am, as is she) and was for a time sandwiched in between parents and a daughter, all of whom were growing old, and up, way too fast. Sadly, my parents are gone now - and my daughter ...more
Tiffany PSquared
If you can get through the first couple of chapters while maintaining a positive attitude, you just might end up liking this book. I was nervous at first- it had the potential to become one big 300-plus-page gripe fest. But Guisewite saves it by being entirely, humorously candid and displaying all her jagged faults- even the ones we've tried to hide in ourselves. ...more
I feel like I'm in a weird middle where I did grow up reading the funny pages (one of which was Cathy) while new strips were still being put out, but I hated this book.

This reminded me a lot of Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say in that both feel over-indulgent in the authors' cathartic acknowledgements that they are not good people, but they still continue to do the things they do. For example, there are countless passages about Guisewite's binge eating, but t
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Cathy Guisewite, after decades penning the comic strip "Cathy," sets down her ink pen and takes up her word processor. It's a bit disconcerting at first, all the words, no pictures, lots of comedy, but drama, too. The angst is still there, roads untaken, be they the road to a happy marriage or simply the road to a contented hour with a child. If you are a Debbie or a Linda or a Cathy yourself, you will see your life in these pages, wrestling with the issues we women have been asked to take on, c ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
I really didn't enjoy this book at all. Wasn't funny and found it boring. ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is a 317 page long Cathy comic. I mean that in the worst way possible.

I don't know what I was expecting. I guess, as a person who was never a fan of the "Cathy" comic strips, but grew up seeing them in the paper alongside some of the classics, I hoped this book would be insight into the person behind it all. Maybe she would share some self awareness about how she spent 30+ years reducing her character to diets, dating and swimsuit shopping. She does not.

I almost stopped after the 5th
David Wineberg
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cathy was a four panel daily comic strip, when newspaper comic strips were in their prime. Cathy Guisewite, its creator, did that job, alone in a room, for 34 years. Now, she has written Fifty Things That Are Not My Fault, a comic strip in prose. This time it is really and specifically autobiographical.

The book gives Guisewite the ability to broaden her stories, build up to her punchlines , and most of all, expose her humanity. Because Fifty Things is nothing if not a summary of all the internal
Donna Davis
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Caucasian middle class Boomer fans of the comic.
Guisewite began publishing the comic strip “Cathy” in 1976, the year that I graduated high school. It was a time of high expectations for women, and the unrealistic suggestion that we would be able to “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man,” as Madison Avenue decreed, was daunting. Through her sharply perceptive humor, Guisewite let her peers know that it wasn’t just us; we were judging ourselves with an unfair yardstick. She kept it real, and in doing s ...more
T K Nelson
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Readers will be disappointed if they are expecting this to be a continuation of or even to be in the same vein as the Cathy comic strip. This book is a series of reminiscences, most arising from the author reaching the sandwich generation years. Anyone who reviews the author as too whiny has likely not reached the age where you wake up one morning and overnight your feet have become too big for your shoes.

The book consists of an introduction and 48 essays. As with any memoir made up of a series
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
If you are a fan of daily newspaper comics (for those who remember reading a physical newspaper), and you're in a certain age group (I'm in my 50s), you may recall a character in a strip called "Cathy." The strip depicts the life of a single woman, unsolicited advice from her mom and the unfailing affection of her little dog.

This book is a collection of essays written by the strip's creator reflecting on her life in recent years. She shares what it's like having a college-age daughter and aging
Suzze Tiernan
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book of essays from Cathy Guisewite, creator of the Cathy comic strip. I’ve went through all the same life stages as her, and laughed out loud constantly. Highly recommended!!
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's easy to forget that comic strip artists are actually writers. They have to come up with a story line that plays out in tiny chapters over a week or more and keeps the audience coming back day after day. Cathy Guisewite quit her comic strip after thirty-four years in 2010. But apparently she kept writing and now we have a collection of essays about adopting and raising her daughter who is now in college, worrying about her parents as they enter their nineties, and mundane things like exercis ...more
Thanks to Goodreads and Putnam for this ARC.

I have been a big Cathy fan since she started writing her comic strip 34 years ago (can it be that long)? and saved many of her strips that I totally related to. They are all yellowed now. I was so disheartened when she decided to stop writing it. She's had many comic strips books over the years but this is her first book of essays as she calls it and the only one I've read.

I learned so much about her, her writing, her family, her adopted daughter, an
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, memoir, humor
I’ve missed you, Cathy! I’ve forgotten how much Cathy Guisewite could telegraph in a few comic panels. I have a small box filled with the detritus of my life. I’d call it mementos, but by now it’s been picked over so many times that the remains are slim. The diaries and day planners are filled with Cathy cartoons carefully taped into days where they were sufficient to explain all that I felt. This book somehow does the same for this new period of life, where parents and millennials seem to share ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
The author is angry and whiny. And the things she goes off on, aren’t anything “new”...i.e...ranting about a woman’s beauty regimen is wayyy more than a man’s. A man doesn’t pluck his eyebrows! A man doesn’t blow dry his hair! A man doesn’t wear ear jewelry to match his outfit! A man doesn’t get Botox!
Ugh. No one is forcing you to do these things, which she goes on and on about.
I think the next chapter is about her getting “stuck” in a sports bra which is 7.41 minutes long...which is 7 min
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Years ago, as a young woman working in downtown Chicago, I found a kindred spirit in the Cathy comic strip character. Laughing and nodding my head in agreement, I clipped the ones out of the newspaper that I related to the most (and there were many!) and stuck them everywhere so I could enjoy them again and again. Years later, along comes this gem of a book! Still funny and still relatable, Cathy Guisewite takes the reader on a journey of growing older, with aging parents and adult children in t ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cathy finds an outlet for her frustrations in this amusing debut essay collection. Struggling with aging and the stress of caring for both a teenage daughter and elderly parents, while also trying to live a life herself anyone can relate to her experiences and concerns. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it incredibly relatable as I'm sure most of us would, she has a way of bringing real life "crud" and making it easier and smoother to digest for the reader. ...more
Bonney Teti
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Cathy Guisewite's self esteem is still at the bottom of the office shredder... ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
What better day than Mother's Day to review Cathy Guisewite's Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault? The essay collection, like Guisewite's "Cathy" cartoons, is filled with family relationships and guilt. It's subtitled "Essays from the Grown-Up Years", but anyone who read "Cathy" will recognize the adult and her relationship with her parents.

There are some differences. Even though "Cathy" wasn't Guisewite, there are enough similarities that many of us recognize the relationship with food, the body
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.
I was a huge fan of the Cathy comic strip back in the 80s and 90s. I often felt like we were living parallel lives. I fell away from the strip, but was so glad to discover this book of essays.
Some of the pieces feel a little repetitive- not necessarily of each other, but more of the themes and challenges of times from so many years ago, and I sort of felt like some things really didn’t speak to me as much now. However, Cathy is still Cathy, or maybe I am still ME, and so there were a
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am the perfect demographic for this book, subtitled “Essays From the Grown-Up Years”: I loved the “Cathy” comic strip, and found it so frequently absolutely NAILED situations/relationships/dilemmas in my own life as a woman who spent a boatload of time in the 70s-80s-90s reveling in the feminist energy I felt all around me while also struggling with issues related to self-esteem, body image, gender equality, etc.

Not being a mother, I haven’t really shared the mother-daughter experiences such a
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book following a recommendation from a friend. Together we swapped phone calls as we laughed about the shared experiences in this very funny book. It brought back many memories of times which I thought no one but me had gone through. I laughed out load and even shed a few tears as Cathy Guisewite walked us through her own aging process.

A great example of the circle of life and a gentle reminder for us all that: “mirror mirror on the wall, I’ve turned into my mother after all.”
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it, but just barely. I cannot recall the last time I saw a "Cathy" comic strip, and might not recognize one without a title, but I have warm recollections that they were enjoyable. This memoir, although thoroughly non-objectionable, will probably fade even more quickly, even the bits that stirred some enjoyable reaction at this reading. ...more
Oct 15, 2020 added it
I have some issues with the author's narration. And some MASSIVE issues with her 90 year old mom's narration. I was never a devoted fan of the comic strip, Cathy. Having said all that, it all kind of held together in a warm, charming, humorous, sad, reflection of so many women's lives. If you can get past the narration, I recommend this. ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a woman of a certain age, I read the "Cathy" comic strip for years and loved it. This is like coming back home to an agreeable and comfortable friend. So many things I have experienced personally or my friends are going through - having a daughter head out to college and how to treat her as the independent young woman that she is; parents who freak out at figuring out: 1. a new remote, 2. a tv that can pause a live program, 3. food that lives in the freezer forever; living more than a thousan ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Made me smile, feel nostalgic and tear up.
Lenore Duffy
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve been searching for a laugh out loud book and this one definitely fit the bill.
Those of us squished between caring for our kids and caring for our parents would especially enjoy this book. Laughed at the dressing room experiences and visits with parents, both totally relatable and funny.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Cathy was one of the few comic strips I read for most of its lifespan. I enjoyed and was able to identify with much of Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault as I did with the comic strip. It was nice to hear from Cathy Guisewite again. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting
  • Southern Lady Code
  • Screentime (Zits)
  • Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions
  • Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir
  • Ellie and the Harpmaker
  • Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope (Dear Canada)
  • Bite Club (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 23)
  • Girl on the Block: A True Story of Coming of Age Behind the Counter
  • Charity's Burden (Quaker Midwife Mystery, #4)
  • Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)
  • The Islanders
  • What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal
  • The Pawful Truth (Cat in the Stacks #11)
  • The Undying
  • Queen of the World: Elizabeth II: Sovereign and Stateswoman
  • Iced in Paradise (Leilani Santiago Hawai'i Mystery, #1)
  • The Beautiful Ones
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Cathy Lee Guisewite is the cartoonist who created the comic strip Cathy in 1976. Her main cartoon character (Cathy) is a career woman faced with the issues and challenges of work, relationships, her mother and food, or as Guisewite herself put it in one of her strips, "The four basic guilt groups."

Guisewite was born in Dayton, Ohio and grew up in Midland, Michigan. She attended the University of M

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
18 likes · 7 comments