• Type: Books
  • By: Lucy Knisley
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Graphic Novels
  • Recommended by: Kate N.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781606998106
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Graphic novel about aging, youth, family bonds and cruise ship comedians.

When Lucy Knisley finds out that her grandparents have rather improbably booked themselves on a cruise, she decides to step in and accompany them. She’s not entirely sure if the trip will be "comedy gold" or a "depressing insight into [her] grands' deteriorating health" but she hopes for the best and sets sail on a ship full of the elderly. From the very beginning the trip is fraught with difficulties: her grandparents are in worse physical and mental shape than she thought, and traveling with them is a tremendous amount of work for a single, childless twentysomething used to caring only for herself.

Thinking back on a much dreamier trip to Europe, she writes, "That trip was about independence, sex, youth, and adventure. This trip is about patience, care, mortality, respect, sympathy, and love." You’ll feel that respect for her grandparents on every page, especially in lovingly chosen excerpts from her grandfather's WWII memoir. Tales of his youthful bravery and his profound insights about war are juxtaposed with Lucy’s portrait of a kind but confused and frail old man, a powerful reminder about how quickly youth fades.

On that note, it's difficult to describe this book without making it sound prohibitively depressing, but Knisley’s skills as a writer and artist keep the material from being too bleak. Really, there’s nothing here that most of us haven't thought about at one time or another when confronted with the reality of a loved one aging, and that’s part of what makes her story so affecting. Her artwork is clean, bright and always slightly lighthearted, even when the subject matter is grim. (Fair warning: The print is pretty small at times.) After I read this book I immediately recommended it to a handful of people and then put holds on the author's other titles, by which I mean: I really hope that you enjoy this as much as I did.