Guy Delisle is best known for travel graphic novels, his most recent work Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City recounted the year he spent there with his two young children and spouse. In his latest work, A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting, Delisle focuses on his home instead of a specific locale. The interactions of a father and his young son and daughter are highlighted through a series of humorous vignettes written and drawn by Delisle.
From the opening page when a little boy is stating that a mouse will come and give him money for his recently lost tooth, you know this graphic novel is going to be offbeat and quirky. Delisle’s razor-sharp wit shines through in spite of some normally glum topics and he adeptly tiptoes the line between seriousness and “did he really just say that?”
Something I took away from A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting was the larger issues explored in many of these vignettes. At face value there is a lighthearted feel to the art but Delisle uses these moments to raise issues like the state of the comics industry, religion and technology. The hilarious “Education” is a great example of miscommunication between father and son as well as being a shout out to the Nintendo generation of kids who are now parents.
As a father of two young children, I found A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting to be relatable and a lot of fun. I don’t think being a parent is a prerequisite for enjoying this book however. Delisle’s humor comes in many forms and there is something for everyone to like even though his delivery method happens to be through the exchanges with his children. If you are looking for a humor comic or something outside of the norm, I would pick up A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting and give it a try.
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