Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? A Mother's Suggestions

Roz Chast (illus.). Celadon. Apr. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9781250301963. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781250301970. Rated: Teen+. COMICS
Perhaps intended as a wacky Mother's Day gift, this collaboration marries the talents of New Yorker contributors Marx (Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt To Maintain My Mental Faculties) and Chast (Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York). Friends and confederates (Dot in Larryland: The Big Little Book of an Odd-Sized Friendship), the authors discovered both had mothers given to strong opinions. Indeed, Marx's mom gifted her daughter with numerous off-kilter edicts, of which 41 appear here with Chast's engagingly oddball illustrations. The title directive, plus a handful of others, come off as witty and demented. And a few are actually good advice, including a pronouncement about leftovers. But many elicit a "duh?" or seem odd but not funny. Marx pens a concise introduction contextualizing her daughter-mother relationship, which Chast's drawings stretch to 14 pages. Yet there's simply not enough here for readers who might be intrigued but left hanging by the spare background details and a "so what?" impact. Did mom's idiosyncrasies influence Marx to become a humor writer?
VERDICT This brief collection may appeal to hard-core fans of Marx and Chast, so it's best for libraries where their works are popular. The pair have a "rules for couples" collaboration planned for 2020, which hopefully will offer a more satisfying serving.
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