I hate that my blog reminds me just how fast weeks go by. I can’t believe it’s the end of another one already! At least I’m ending this blogging week on good note! I came across this book at the Library, and it looked interesting, so, of course, I checked it right on out.
In this travelogue memoir, Knisley writes about a cruise she took with her Grandparents. Knisley isn’t afraid to write – and draw – to show the true nature of her experience traveling with her grandparents. She hides nothing when talking about their frailty and how that affected her on the trip. As a young woman, Knisley is finally faced with having to accept her Grandparents for who they are now and not how she likes to remember them. This is no easy feat. On top of dealing with their problems and the other issues that arise around her taking care of them on this vacation, Knisley is also dealing with her own struggles, especially work. This second installment in Knisley’s travelogue series is moving with stunning watercolor artwork that leaps right off the page brining her world to life.
*click image to be redirected to book’s Goodreads page*
As stated in my synopsis, this is the second book in Knisley’s travelogue series. The first book, An Age of License: A Travelogue, catalogs her semi-solo Europe trip. If you so choose, you can read that book first (It is also a wonderful read. I’ll be reviewing it within the next few weeks.), since she references that trip in this collection. However, it’s not necessary to read the other book before this one. I came across Displacement first and not having read her first book had no effect on my enjoyment of this book.
Now, (finally) on with the actual review! I absolutely loved this book. It was easy to give a glowing 5 stars. This book gave off a similar vibe as Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant: A Memoir by Roz Chast, which I also gave a glowing review to. Knisley writes in the same sort of matter-of-fact way that doesn’t sugarcoat anything. As I get older, I’m realizing how important and admirable it is to be able to write in this way. No one’s getting any younger, so why not write about the harsh, inevitable reality, to trying to pretend that everything is wonderful and perfect all the time, because life rarely is.
Don’t get me wrong, Knisley loves her Grandparents and wants them to have a good trip, but this concept of losing the idolization of someone you love is something that is hard to come to terms with. We want to see our relatives, especially the older ones such as Grandparents, as invincible when, in reality, they are far from it. Knisley does a wonderful job of incorporating the salvaged appreciation for her Grandparents alongside the cruel reality that they are getting far too old to be taking a trip like this one. She creates a nice balance of new, old, and personal problems to make this travelogue relatable for everyone.
Knisley’s writing is concise, yet filled with emotion. The story she wrote is woven together so nicely that you almost forget you’re reading nonfiction. Yet, at the same time, you can’t forget because her words are so relatable, even if the situations she finds herself in aren’t. Also, as this is a graphic travelogue (memoir), I found the writing perfectly balanced with the illustrations. Both aspects have enough of their own space to perfectly compliment each other as well as the other story elements.
Speaking of the illustrations, Knisley’s watercolor drawings are beautiful and vibrant. There was no lack of effort put into each scene to make the pages beautiful in a way that made her story come to life even more. The effort that Knisley put into this project clearly shows and will (already did) definitely have me coming back for more.
Even though this is a graphic novel, making it a rather quick read, Knisley’s travelogue is a heavy one. The topics that she sets out to put down on paper are not light. Prepare to be on the same emotional roller coaster that Knisley is on as she embarks on a journey that has the power to teach and to change. Maybe have a few tissues ready as you might be feeling anything from relief to sadness– or maybe even a combination – by the end.
I recommend this novel to everyone, but especially to nonfiction and memoir readers, particularly those who like graphic novels. This is, honestly, a read for anyone of any age. There’s no lack of heart and emotion put into the moving memoir. Don’t hesitate to pick this book up.
Get your copy from Book Depository here for $14.64.
That does it for another week! I hope you have a weekend filled with fun adventures! I’ll be back Sunday with my week in books.