I don’t entirely remember what led me to pick up Displacement, but it came out around the same time my grandfather was moved to a nursing home and was suffering severe memory loss. But however this book came to be in my possession, it started a years long love of Lucy’s books which I have started to treat as a field guide to millennial life. Being a few years older than me, it’s been nice to get a Lucy book at the time when I, or my friends, are going through some of life’s major moments and changes.
From the publisher marketing:
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.
Displacement was a lot of firsts for me – my first illustrated memoir, my first Lucy Knisley book, my first book “death” book as my friends and coworkers now call them, it was a lot of firsts and arrived at a very important time in my life.
In the spring of 2015 I was dealing with a lot of life anxiety – I didn’t know what I wanted to really do with my life, having gone back to school for a teaching degree that I wasn’t finding any positions for, and had just been in a serious car accident. My beloved grandfather, husband of Moppy, my Poppy’s, mental acuity was deteriorating rapidly. A man who had previously prided himself on his smarts in a quiet and modest way, was no longer able to think and function for himself and it was heartbreaking to see.
Enter Displacement. And my new life coach, Lucy Knisley. In Displacement, Lucy recounts her experience going on a cruise with her aging grandparents who were showing early signs of memory loss. My sister and I frequently traveled with my grandparents and my mom to various locales around the country, but never a cruise. Poppy, having suffered injuries from sports and later a car accident was never a very mobile person, preferring to stay in the time share we’d stay in working on his puzzles while Moppy, Mom, Laura and I would go off exploring. I never really had to take care of them, they were entirely self-sufficient, until they weren’t.
And I, like Lucy, had to accept the fact that I was running out of time to get to know them before I’d lose that opportunity to do so forever. So I would sit down and talk with them, interview them, about their experiences during their childhoods, and, like Lucy discovered with her grandfather, their experiences during World War II. It was so reassuring to read Lucy’s memoir to feel less alone alone in the experience.
And then, of course, the following year, Lucy’s wedding planning memoir Something New came out while I was planning my own wedding, and so Lucy as my life coach was a firmly established fact.
Rating: 10 out of 10