Check It Out: Lots of reasons to love ‘What I Hate’

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While this week’s title sounds really negative, trust me when I say that this book is positively funny. I’ve been a fan of Roz Chast ever since I first saw her cartoons in The New Yorker magazine back in the 1980s.

Her quirky outlook on life always tickled me, but when I read her cartoon about an upcoming dental appointment, I was hooked. Perfectly expressing what goes on in the mind of a dental-phobic person, she shows a guy coming across reminders of his dental appointment in the unlikeliest of places: in the newspaper, on TV, spelled out in the clouds and written across the doors of a subway. Anyone who so perfectly understands my anxiety about dentists just has to be my BFF.

OK, I’ve never met Chast, but we’re simpatico in spirit. Happily, I can enjoy her work not only in The New Yorker but in several books she has authored. Her latest title might look like a children’s picture book, but it’s definitely for adults — especially adults with anxieties. What does she hate? Alien abductions (yeah, I hate those, too), carnivals (ditto), spontaneous human combustion (awful!) and the color yellow. Well, I don’t hate yellow, but when she lists things associated with it — yellow jackets, yellow fever, urine, yellowed teeth — I kind of have to agree with her.

It’s a bit difficult to write about a book of cartoons because this medium really has to be viewed to be fully appreciated, but I hope you take a chance on this witty book. If you find hammerhead sharks, amnesia and dental tools disturbing, rest assured — you’re not alone.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at readingforfun@fvrl.org. She blogs at youbetterreadnow.blogspot.com.