Roz Chast is a Dutiful Daughter

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"Mostly people are glad that I've said it was really hard, and really messy. I wanted to write about the entire experience, including the parts that were gross, and funny, and including my mixed feelings about my parents. I didn't want to write with a fake, rosy glow."  — Roz Chast

• "As they inched into their late 90s, (Chast) arranged for round-the-clock care. And she kept a horrified eye on their dwindling savings, all the while thinking: 'There goes my inheritance. It's a terrible, terrible thing and you look at yourself in the mirror and think: I'm a worm. I'm a lowly, shitty, crappy, horrible worm to be thinking about this.' " —  Roz Chast quoted by Emma BrockesTheGuardian.com

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• "Chast had done right by them, but she was still sick with regret after they were gone. 'Should I have taken them into my house? Should I have seen them more? Why didn't I love them more? You know? Am I a disgusting person?' " — Roz Chast quoted by Emma BrockesTheGuardian.com

Selected Reviews:

• “Roz Chast squeezes more existential pain out of baffled people in cheap clothing sitting around ... in crummy apartments than Dostoevsky got out of all of Russia’s dark despair. This is a great book in the annals of human suffering, cleverly disguised as fun.” — satirist Bruce McCall

• “A tour de force of dark humor and illuminating pathos about her parents’ final years as only this quirky genius of pen and ink could construe them.” —  Elle

• “Very, very, very funny, in a way that a straight-out memoir about the death of one’s elderly parents probably would not be.” — New York Times

Chast's photo in animation at top by her husband: “Bill Franzen is a humor writer who began his career in the mail room of The New Yorker. His book, Hearing From Wayne — a collection of short stories, most of them reprinted from Gentlemen’s Quarterly, National Lampoon and The New Yorker — was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “carefully crafted studies in whimsey and moments of truth....” — ridgefieldauthors.wikispaces.com

• Watch 5-minute excerpt of Roz Chast interview by New Yorker Editor David Remnick (full 15-minute version at www.hulu.com/watch/641493 )

• Chast's memoir reminds us of Deborah Hoffmann and Frances Reid's revolutionary film, Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, about Deborah's mother's battle with Alzheimer's. Deborah's father Banesh, who died earlier, was an associate of Albert Einstein's. 

• The 1994 PBS/POV doc, an Oscar finalist and winner of a Peabody and many other awards, was the first to address the challenges of a family member with Alzheimer's using a combination of humor with appreciation for the victim's residual-yet-declining humanity

• “The taboo that I broke was that, without being disrespectful to my mother … I admitted that this is a funny situation … in any other situation, everybody would laugh … (Alzheihmer's sufferers) are really doing very crazy, insane things, and it’s okay to see the humor in it … even my mother sees the humor in it … once I allowed myself to ease up and see the humor, my mother felt a lot better. She enjoyed laughing about it.” — Deborah Hoffmann

• "She is the ultimate of living in the moment," Hoffmann says proudly of her mother in the film's closing monologue. "She's sort of the ultimate enlightened person."

• "This is the best film about Alzheimer's disease that I've seen, and I've seen quite a few... film critic Gene Siskel

 • "Unflinchingly honest...a film that will give hope to Alzheimer's caregivers as well as early-stage Alzheimer's patients." — Marcia Freedman, American Society on Aging

• Watch an 8-minute excerpt of Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter below: