The creator of an iconic cartoon strip shares her quirky humor in prose form.
Like millions of other women, Guisewite (The Mother-Daughter Dance, 2016, etc.), creator of the megapopular comic strip “Cathy,” has fears, concerns, and outrages; from 1976 to 2010, she expressed them all with a delightful sense of fun. Now that she’s retired from drawing her “Cathy” strip, which at its peak appeared in more than 1,400 newspapers, the author turns to prose, presenting short essays and sidebars about her major life change when the strip ended. “I got older,” she writes, “which I hadn’t factored in, and became even more obnoxious and belligerent than my child or my parents, incapable of even committing to exercise five minutes a day. I thought that when I quit my job, the pace of all the change would slow down. But it didn’t. It sped up.” The author’s topics, many of which she explored in her comic strip, range widely: aging parents who refuse to let go of their stuff and don’t feel old despite being in their 90s; how she has outgrown all her shoes; eating and skin care habits and body image issues; inability to fit into a sports bra; desire to commit to an exercise program; terror at trying on a swimsuit; the difficulties of organizing a house; her life with her now college-bound daughter and how much things have changed for women since her own mother was young. Although some of the essays are repetitive and clunky in their attempts at comedy, Guisewite hits the mark more often than not. It’s a collection that isn’t likely to appeal to readers who were never “Cathy” fans (Ack!), but the author offers a new way to savor the humor of her classic comic-strip character.
Absurd and often witty takes on life as a caregiver, mother, and woman.