Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 161 pgs.
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Displacement by Lucy Knisley is part travelogue, part memoir, part comic, and it does an excellent job of illustrating the fears of younger generations when it comes to caring for elderly parents or grandparents.  Lucy volunteers to take her elderly grandparents on a cruise with their senior housing community, and while she loves her grandparents, she, like many grandchildren, still see them as capable and active adults, even though their health has declined.  Traveling with aging grandparents through a series of connecting flights and the boarding of a cruise ship is difficult, especially as Knisley’s grandmother is losing her memory and her grandfather has bladder control issues.  Readers are likely to giggle about some comedic moments, but what makes this book shine is the compassion, angst, and love that shines through in every page.

Knisley ponders what it means to be a good person and what her own motivations are for coming on the trip, as well as why her own family has a hard time expressing love for one another — with the closest to an “I love you” being “we’re so proud of your academic achievements.”  Although her grandparents have lost some of their memories, Knisley is lucky to have her grandfather’s memoir about his WWII experiences.  She discovers while reading this memoir in preparation for the cruise that her grandfather often threw caution to the wind, like not wearing a parachute while flying because it was uncomfortable.

Displacement by Lucy Knisley is not just about mortality and how many young people do not want to face it.  It is also about having compassion and love for your own roots, so much so that you set aside your own discomfort to make sure elderly relations enjoy their own time on vacation or just with family.  It also sheds light on the incredibly hard job it is to be a caregiver for the elderly, particularly when you’re not related to them.  Knisley gives readers a new respect for those working in nursing homes and elderly communities.

A definite contender for the year-end best list.

***Thanks to Bermudaonion for reviewing this one and calling my attention to it.***

Other reviews:

About the Author:

Beginning with an love for Archie comics and Calvin and Hobbes, Lucy Knisley (pronounced “nigh-zlee”) has always thought of cartooning as the only profession she is suited for. A New York City kid raised by a family of foodies, Lucy is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago currently pursuing an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies. While completing her BFA at the School of the Art Institute, she was comics editor for the award-winning student publication F News Magazine.

Lucy currently resides in New York City where she makes comics. She likes books, sewing, bicycles, food you can eat with a spoon, manatees, nice pens, costumes, baking and Oscar Wilde. She occasionally has been known to wear amazing hats.


  1. bermudaonion(Kathy) says

    I’m so glad you loved this one too! I knew exactly how she felt at times – watching people you love grow old isn’t easy!

  2. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says

    Sounds interesting!