cover image What’s So Funny?: A Cartoonist’s Memoir

What’s So Funny?: A Cartoonist’s Memoir

David Sipress. Mariner, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-358-65909-9

New Yorker cartoonist Sipress (It’s a Cat’s Life) draws on his gift for evoking the predicaments of human nature to tell beguiling stories about his life and career. Born in 1947 to Russian Jewish immigrants, he relates how he took to drawing as a precocious boy in New York City, cutting out and pasting his own cartoons into his parents’ copies of the New Yorker by the time he was in fourth grade. Steered by the high expectations of his hardworking father and doting mother, he graduated from Williams College and spent two years as a grad student at Harvard before dropping out to pursue his dream of being a cartoonist for the New Yorker—eventually making his first sale to the magazine in October 1997. While Sipress hoped this would satisfy his “lifelong quest” to convince his father that he was “a success,” his father died two months later (“truly bad timing on [his] part”). Weaving in his impeccable wit and wry cartoons, Sipress illustrates his relentless pursuit to produce work that “express[es] what everyone is thinking and feeling,” all while offering amusing insights into his creative process: “I draw and write about what makes me mad... and above all, what makes me anxious.” The result is a delightful jaunt through an inspiring artist’s mind. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Co. (Mar.)