Graphic Novel Review – Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York
by
Roz Chast

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A few years ago, my work friend recommended Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York. Since then, I’d seen this graphic novel all around the library, but hadn’t read it. I finally brought it home to read this week and laughed so hard I was crying. Chast’s book began as a simple guide book for her daughter, who was headed to college in Manhattan. The family had moved from Brooklyn to a suburban town when her children were small and Chast wanted her daughter to fall in love with the city the way she had at that age. She writes, “I wanted to introduce her to Manhattan and didn’t want them to ‘get off on the wrong foot.’” Also, she wanted to make sure her daughter knew how to get around!

This isn’t a travel guide, but it will help you get around. And Chast includes plenty of clever cartoons to help a person understand streets, avenues, uptown, downtown, the east side and the west side. She points to Manhattan’s idiosyncracies, but also to its attractions, including parks, museums and other “Stuff to Do.”

I could have used this guide years ago when I volunteered to be a chaperone for the annual sixth-grade trip to New York. We left on three middle school buses at 7:00 am and arrived in New York at 9:00 am for an 12:00 lunch at ESPN and a 2:00 pm Broadway show. Another mom and I were put in charge of eight boys (including our sons) and told to explore the city! Those eight boys wanted to do about ten different things, including going to a sneaker shop to buy sneakers we could have gotten at the local mall and visiting FAO Schwarz. After lunch, when we finally got to the theater district, we were right in the middle of a throng of people much like in this picture. I was sure we would lose them while crossing the street.

One of the things I liked best about this book is how inclusive the author is. And although she pokes a little fun at tourists, she really just wants everyone to love New York the way she does. Chast has been a cartoonist for the New Yorker since 1978. She also wrote and illustrated the award-winning graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? in which she explores the topic of aging parents.

You don’t have to be a New Yorker to like this book, but I think it might help to have visited the city or to be interested in it. I grew up in a New Jersey town outside New York and have visited the city many times, but I’m a full suburbanite now. And I definitely don’t know my way around Manhattan. You can ask any extended family member to verify. I’d also recommend Going to Town for readers to get a taste of what graphic novels are like. Not all graphic novels are funny, but this one is!

Do you read graphic novels? What types do you like? If you haven’t read any, are you interested? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

27 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Review – Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

  1. I’ve never read a graphic novel, but this one sounds like a place to start. However, with NYC in its current state, I have no inclination to travel there.

  2. I LOVE Roz Chast. When I got the print version of The New Yorker in the mail, I would search for her cartoons first thing. Another graphic novel by Roz is Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? It’s a downer, sort of, but it fit the bill when I was a caregiver for several relatives at the same time.

    1. Hi Marian – yes, “Can’t We Talk…” is also very popular, but more serious, as you know. Thanks for stopping by. I enjoy Chast’s cartoons very much!

  3. I’ll admit, I’m usually a ‘snob’ about graphic novels, plus (my real problem) – usually the print/artwork is too small for my tired eyes. This book sounds SO good, though. I’ve visited NYC many times in my 20s and 30s, and then about a decade ago with a good friend who really knew her way around. Me? Not at all. I think I’d love this book. How small is the print???? ;-0

    1. It’s not small! It’s a mix of pictures (some of them are big)and text, not like a classic comic book. I think you would like it! Thanks for stopping by, Pam 🙂

  4. Thanks for the intro to this book – another blogger I follow wrote about graphic novels this spring and now here it is again!
    Sounds like this is a pleasant enough one to start with….
    And I love NYC so a guide book like this could Be good for our next visit – oh and on our last trip there – my boys got hats with their nana embroidered in the seam— something they could have gotten anywhere but to have it in NYC – like the sneakers for the boys you were with – well to have it from
    NY is part of the charm –

    1. Haha – I can get to New York, but the subways intimidate me. So much more complicated IMO than the subways in DC which I used all the time, years ago. Thanks for stopping by, Diana 🙂

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