by KATHY MEGYERI
The New Yorker staff cartoonist, Roz Chast, has teamed with eminent comedy writer, Patricia Marx, to offer us one of this year’s best Mother’s Day gifts. This book, geared toward the adult market, is based on Marx’s witty one-liner advice
that she heard from her mother, who had a saying for just about everything. The easily recognizable illustrations by her colleague, Chast, perfectly complement the piece.
Treasured declarations from Mom include: “If you want to run away, I’ll pack you a lunch and you can go wherever you want– as long as you don’t cross the street.” Or guidance for the adult child, “If you run out of food at your dinner party, the world will end.”
And there’s always grandmotherly advice to share: “‘When it comes to raising children, nothing beats bribery.”
Humorist Marx, a Harvard grad, currently works as a staff writer for The New Yorker and teaches at Princeton University. She’s a former writer for Saturday Night Live and Rugrats, the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon, and the author of several humor and children’s books.
When Marx had her first humorous piece published in the Atlantic, Chast illustrated it, and the two established a bond.
Chast has published over 800 cartoons in The New Yorker and also draws for the Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has honorary doctorate degrees from Pratt Institute and Dartmouth. She’s won National Book Critics Circle Awards for autobiography and her children’s books.
Focusing on domestic and family life, Chast’s offbeat cartoons tell the story of odd people she’s met and peculiar conversations she’s had. Her unconventional drawing style typically focuses on interior scenes with lamps, colorful wallpaper and dated furniture.
She says, “The wonderful thing about the cartoon form is that it’s a combination of words and pictures. You don’t have to choose, and the two are often greater than the sum of their parts.”
In this book, the teamwork of Marx’s realistic
and relatable humor and Chast’s quirky drawings
produces something deliciously funny.
I wanted to rip my copy apart and frame the best
of them. ~Kathy Megyeri