Well clearly I need to read the rest of Lucy Knisley’s work. I loved Relish: My Life in the Kitchen so when narfna reviewed Displacement in February, I immediately put it on my 2016 TBR. Displacement was even better than Relish. Relish was enjoyable, it’s just that Displacement spoke to my personal life and resonated in a deeper way.
Knisley’s elderly grandparents, Allen and Phyllis, signed up for a cruise to the Caribbean. Unfortunately they’re in their 90s, have low mobility, know no one else on the trip, and may be losing it a little mentally. Their kids are understandably worried about how they’ll survive the air travel, let alone the actual cruise. Luckily, Knisley has some free time and volunteers to take care of them on their trip. She thinks it’ll be fun and maybe she’ll get a good story out of it (spoiler alert: she does), but she doesn’t know how far in over her head she is.
Displacement is a travelogue, but it also weaves stories in about Allen’s time in the armed forces during WWII, their courtship, and Knisley’s relationship with the grands during her childhood. It grapples with issues most adults can relate to regarding the slow decline of elderly relatives and how hard it is to be a caretaker. In the book, Knisley ponders that maybe “mortality is easier to take when there’s a generation of separation.” In my experience, that is true. My own grandparents are dealing with failing health and it’s like pulling teeth to get my dad to fly out there and visit. It’s sad, but it’s like if he actually deals with it, he’d have to resign himself to the truth that they’re dying.
I think maybe I’ve made this books seem more grim than it actually is. Yes, it deals with difficult subjects, but it’s also really funny and touching. It’s only 161 pages, but I managed to both laugh and cry several times.
And of course, the artwork Knisley created for this book is beautiful. It seems simple at first, but she clearly took a lot of time making sure it was perfect. Everything is easy to understand and a pleasure to read. She even used the white space in a way that makes this book more contemplative. Highly, highly recommend this one, even if you’re not usually a graphic novel kind of person.