Sunday, October 23, 2011

What I Hate: From A to Z

We all have them - fears, neuroses and pet peeves. And there's no one else on earth who can better capture and articulate the absurdity of the human psyche than the prolific and brilliant, long-time cartoonist for The New Yorker, Roz Chast (Theories of Everything; The Party, After You Left).

Chast is a self-proclaimed "anxious person." In her new book, WHAT I HATE: FROM A to Z, she brings her own special brand of wry humor and artistic style to a clever, alphabetized catalog of her favorite personal anxieties and concerns. Chast utilizes all 26 letters of the alphabet, and offers runners up and understudies at the end of the book, striking a perfect balance between the literary and the visual. Each full-page cartoon entry, and brief passage of accompanying text, resonates with insight and wit about the human condition. Rendered via Chast's cerebral point-of-view, fears of elevators, getting lost, heights, nightmares, and water-bugs (to name just a few) are each cast in a chilling new light. And the more eccentric, highly specialized concerns like alien abduction, carnival ride maintenance, Jello, Ouija boards, premature burial, undertow and the color yellow are full of irony as well as dark, intellectual depth.

Chast is a meticulous illustrator, and yet a charming simplicity reigns as the hallmark of her work. The unique, sketchy quality of her art is what makes it so appealing to a wide, crossover audience. Taken at face value or more carefully considered, these never-before published cartoons evoke deeper thoughts while inspiring the viewer to laugh out loud.

Bloomsbury, $15.00, Hardcover, 978-1608196890, 64 pp.
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Please note: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review (in a slightly different form) on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (10/18/11), click HERE.