The remarkably straightforward title tells the reader exactly what to expect: 26 cartoons (plus a couple of bonuses), each accompanied by a short paragraph of the author's musings on what's illustrated. Chast's nervous cross-hatching and wiggly, double-penned lines are perfect for this catalogue of urban anxiety. Subjects range from the understandable (doctors, getting lost, going blind) or the commonplace (flying, heights, nightmares) to the bizarre, such as when she calls balloons "imminent explosions" or ponders spontaneous human combustion. Her memory of trying to make Jell-O 1-2-3 is both nostalgic and immensely creepy. Readers will find it most amusingly shocking to run across a worry they thought was uniquely theirs—realizing that someone else has considered all the ways you could die at a carnival is perversely comforting. The cartoons range from sequential, with four subpanels, to simple, stark images, such as a child being abducted by a kite. Others are packed with details of fearful faces or overwhelm the image with text; Chast uses whatever works best for the concept. With its variety of topics, this slim hardcover makes for an entertaining, rewarding flip-through. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011 Release date: 10/01/2011 Genre: Comics
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