Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park... When You’re 29 and Unemployed

Aneurin Wright. Penn State, $32.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-271-07112-1
As part of Penn State Press’s ambitious Graphic Medicine line, Wright’s graphic novel succeeds both artistically and from a health-policy perspective. It isn’t some dry lecture, but a beautifully rendered account of the author caring for his father as he endured the final stages of emphysema. Told in layered flashbacks with a healthy sense of dark humor, Wright’s story tracks his evolution from an emotionally distant art school graduate to his old man’s primary caregiver. Best known as an animator, Wright has a muscular and high-contrast drawing style that emphasizes each scene’s emotional content without pushing it into caricature, although occasional forays into allegory (father as a rhinoceros and Wright as a minotaur), can distract from the narrative. Such quibbles aside, this is a powerful debut with a deeply resonant story about living with the seemingly impossible. “You can do anything,” Wright’s father reassures him before an embarrassing procedure, “as long as you breathe through your mouth.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/09/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
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