Beloved New Yorker cartoonist shares an alphabetized listing of life’s little irritants.
Veteran illustrator and humorist Chast (Too Busy Marco, 2010, etc.) has crafted a colorful career from parodying unsavory situations and maladies alongside the happenstances of the human condition. To truly enjoy her nimble pen and watercolor sketches, readers must be willing to laugh at their own harmless foibles. In the charming introduction, the author admits to being a life-long “anxious person,” a chronic insomniac who is “genetically inclined to worry,” and she brilliantly plays this personal shortcoming to maximum comical effect with the jagged line-drawing style and ironical wit that have become her trademarks. From the unsettling possibility of waking up during general anesthesia to the offbeat catastrophes of “Jell-O 1-2-3” and spontaneous human combustion, the author presents an A-to-Z catalog of distressing concerns and her unique take on “what might funny about them.” Chast prefaces each pictorial with a short, personal preamble describing what it is about each subject that has become so bothersome for the apprehensive author. She lightheartedly exposes the inconvenient nuisance of nightmares and beach undertows, the unknown consequences of Ouija boards and the wincing “imminent explosion” of annoying balloons. Chast doesn’t have much use for assumptive doctors, quicksand or carnivals, either (they’re “particularly awful at night”). Her takes on vision loss (“the girl who sat too close to the TV”), “mysterious” dental tools and the dark sides of the color yellow are sure to elicit knowing chuckles. With realistic, tongue-in-cheek foresight, the author spotlights a selection of the most commonplace, phobia-inducing situations (elevators, air travel, heights, etc.) and defuses them with brilliantly dry, flippant humor.
A hilarious, collectively appealing index of words and pictures drawn with wry exuberance and a head-nodding relevancy.