cover image My Begging Chart

My Begging Chart

Keiler Roberts. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 trade paper (156p) ISBN 978-1-77046-458-2

Roberts (Rat Time) returns with a thoroughly entertaining collection of autobiographical comics featuring her distinctive blend of deadpan humor and quirkily sincere flights of fancy. She observes life with husband Scott, pre-teen daughter Xia, and dog Crooky with equal parts appreciation and bemusement. “Xia and I played Barbies more intensely than ever before,” Roberts tells her mother, recalling Xia-as-Barbie improvising her way through a job interview, a scene followed by another in which the dolls awkwardly converse about art (imitating, one assumes, life). In another vignette, Roberts digs into her curious satisfaction at having spent weeks destroying her old sketchbooks and journals: “I’m being more productive whenever I’m not making anything.” Moments in which, for instance, a plate of Christmas cookies slips to the ground, to be picked up and placed in the trash one-by-one, are quiet examples of malaise creeping in. But Roberts remains exacting; when praised by a friend for being self-aware, Roberts quips she’s not a “better person” but only able to “see my flaws with absolute clarity.” The droll line drawings gently capture the oddity of quotidian activities, such as vacuuming the blades of a ceiling fan. Roberts’s slightly warped perspective hilariously and poignantly reflects back to readers the transient absurdity of domestic life. (May)