By Cathy Guisewite—G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2019
Hooray. She’s back and she’s every bit as funny and relevant as you remember. Cathy Guisewite, 69, of the iconic comic strip that ran every day from 1976 to 2010, has written a book of essays that will have you nostalgic for her namesake character’s foibles and good intentions. Comic strip Cathy was a would-be feminist, a woman with a career who lived with her dog. She had an on-again, off-again dating life, girlfriends, failed diets and devoted parents. Many of us identified with her struggles completely, and this book speaks to us as well. Guisewite retired to devote time to a daughter in her last year of high school and her parents who turned 90, living on opposite coasts. Now she comes back to us in topics such as being a member of the sandwich generation (”it feels more like the panini generation, where we’re squished between them”) and diet lamentations—the unfairness that gluten-free carob cookies produce the same unhealthy calories as peanut butter cups. Notably, Guisewite ponders her “stuff” in a way we can relate to: she wants her home to resemble one from a magazine while hoping it always looks like the one her daughter grew up in. And her parents’ home needs decluttering—she hilariously decides to take this on without their permission—but when her mother buys a shredder, Guisewite can’t stand it. Acknowledging the challenges so many of us face, Guisewite does for us what Cathy did: she allows us to be human.