living a well tended life... at any age

favor-“ette”: lucy knisley

Here is just a short – and random – sampling of things you will probably never hear me say:

“Can’t WAIT for our upcoming camping trip!”

“Try this goat cheese; it’s delicious!”

“You like my dress? Thanks, I sewed it myself!”

And so on.

And – up until very recently, I would have included the following:

“I loved {insert title of graphic novel} so much!”

Though I love to read (though don’t get to it nearly enough), I tend to gravitate toward memoirs (like this and this), non-fiction (like this or that) or humorous first-person essays (LOVE him and him). If I do pick up a novel it will most likely be super dark (like this or this).

And though I’ve picked up a graphic novel from time to time over the years, I’ve never once been able to get through it. I found the illustrations to be a distraction, and the story hard to focus on.

And then I  heard an interview with Lucy Knisley, who was promoting her latest book Displacement (you can listen to the interview here).

lucy knisley displacement

all images courtesy of Lucy Knisley

It was about a 10-day cruise she took with her elderly grandparents. Though her grandparents would be part of a group arranged by their senior living facility, Lucy’s family was concerned about them.

lucy knisley displacement

Lucy volunteered to accompany her “grands”, figuring that it would be a great opportunity to spend quality time with them (they lived some distance from her), help the family and get a break from the cold NYC winter.

What she didn’t realize was that she’d be spending the 10-day trip (plus the complicated air travel to and from the ship) basically keeping her grandparents alive. Since she had last visited, their health and mental agility had severely declined. They were suffering from dementia, incontinence, asthma and more. This was a lot for a 27-year-old to take on, but she did – and shares this experience with humor, warmth and so much love and affection.

lucy knisley displacement

lucy knisley displacement

I was immediately drawn to this charming author and got the book immediately – and immediately devoured it in all of two days.


I’m sure the fact that I have a lovely daughter of my own – who is close in age to Ms. Knisley’s age at the time of the cruise – made me feel a certain connection to her. Or that fact that – although my own parents are thankfully young, healthy and active – I could totally see Chelsea doing the same thing for her beloved grandparents.

lucy knisley displacement

But truthfully, I adored the book mostly for the smart and funny writing – AND the illustrations. They did more than just provide thoughts and details, but actually enhanced the story immeasurably.

lucy knisley displacement

I was so sad when the book ended that I proceeded to read the rest of Ms. Knisley’s books, and am eagerly awaiting her next. Another favorite was Relish – where she recounts moments in her life that were shaped by food and cooking (each chapter ends with an illustrated recipe).

lucy knisley relish

How about you? Do you have a certain genre of book that you gravitate toward? What are you reading these days that’s amazing – I’m eager to hear!

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