In the latest volume of her graphic travelogue series, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley must care for her grandparents on a cruise.
In her graphic memoirs, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley paints a warts-and-all portrait of contemporary, twentysomething womanhood, like writer Lena Dunham (Girls). In the next installment of her graphic travelogue series, Displacement, Knisley volunteers to watch over her ailing grandparents on a cruise. (The book’s watercolors evoke the ocean that surrounds them.) In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather’s WWII memoir, which is excerpted. Readers will identify with Knisley’s frustration, her fears, her compassion, and her attempts to come to terms with mortality, as she copes with the stress of travel complicated by her grandparents’ frailty.– Goodreads
I am quite a fan of Lucy Knisley who I picked up last summer during my graphic novel period (see review: here.) When I saw that there were ARCS of her new book Displacement I got quite excited. Displacement did not disappoint and made my heart hurt in ways I did not know was possible. Displacement is the story of Knisley who decides to watch her grandparents as they take a cruise. What Knisley doesn’t expect, and what I didn’t expect, was the feelings that Knisley was going to face throughout the novel.
The emotions Knisley faces rage from frustration, to fear, compassion, stress, and the fact that her grandparents are on the verge of death. Knisley didn’t really think about that fact that her grandparents are not the grandparents she remembers. I’m lucky, my grandmother, who is still alive, is still the grandmother I remember from my childhood. Lucy is not that lucky. These grandparents are different, they’re more exhausting and her ten day cruise seems like Gilligan’s Island, the tour that never ends.
What she doesn’t expect though is to become closer to her grandparents, even if they won’t remember it, she will. She also learns that her grandparents shaped her family dynamics more than she ever knew. She’s the favorite grandchild because she got her undergrad degree and education was very important in the family. Her father tells her he loves her all the time, because his parents rarely said it.
Displacement is constantly full of heartbreak because I spent almost the entire book wanting to hug Lucy, not only because of her story, but also the memoir her grandfather wrote about World War II that she intertwined throughout her own story.
What sold the story for me, was not only Lucy’s storytelling, which I enjoyed as I always do, but also her illustrations and use of color which you can see here. I felt like I was there with her, facing her fears and facing issues she just didn’t want to deal with at the time. That part of growing up that we’re all in denial about, but we all have to face sooner or later. Displacement did not disappoint and it was a pleasure to read, even if it did make me and my cold bitter black heart want to hug my grandmother ASAP.
Images provided on Edelweiss from publisher.