Graduation season is upon us. Speakers everywhere are imparting words of wisdom to eager youngsters who have completed their studies and are preparing to tackle the future. Bruce Eric Kaplan, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, has created a whimsical picture book, "Everything is Going to Be Okay," in which the head of a small college asks an odd-looking nonentity named Edmund to deliver a commencement address. Edmund and his wife Rosemary are stunned that any academic institution would call upon him, since he has done nothing noteworthy. "I guess everyone else was busy," says Rosemary helpfully.
Kaplan, with his stark black and white drawings and satirical captions, makes fun of the platitudes that we hear at so many commencements. Edmund, who has a gigantic case of writer's block, has difficulty coming up with a speech. Time flies by and he finds himself standing at the podium, scared out of his mind. He starts jabbering without coming up for air. It doesn't matter, since no one is listening to him anyway. He finally wraps everything up by saying, "Everything is going to be okay." Then he adds, "Even if it isn't."
Still, Edmund and Kaplan manage to convey some uninspiring ideas: You cannot possibly do everything that you set out to do; although love is pleasant, it can also be dull; and living a long life does not necessarily make you smart or worthy. Just getting up in the morning and getting through your day is a triumph of sorts.
What is the point of this slender book? Kaplan seems to be saying that life is tough, unpredictable, unfair, and often challenging. There's no point in worrying ourselves sick. In fact, if we were to sit down and think about everything that could possibly go wrong, we would be paralyzed with fear. Therefore, we might as give living our best shot, and hope that things turn out reasonably well. This message will not knock anyone's socks off, but "Everything is Going to Be Okay" is a wry and amusing little book for the quirky and unconventional graduate with an off-beat sense of humor.
on November 29, 2012
I was hesitant when purchasing this book, but I was captivated by the cartoonist feel it had. This book is dedicated toward any graduate, and I must say it is fitting. Most graduates are typically busy, and this book can be read in five minutes or less. I gave this book and a gift card to someone for their graduation.
Before gifting it, I naturally had to read it. The messages I absorbed from this short artistic book were: overcoming the fear of change, overdoing a good thing can become negative, procrastination is normal do not beat yourself up over it, giving someone negative advice will not help them, be there for someone through their roughest patch in life, and great things can come from negative moments in life.
Bottom line, it is a cute little book for anyone, not just someone who is graduating. Maybe someone that is making a career change, or anyone who is going through a questionable time in their life. It allows your mind to rest, without having to 'think'...
on February 29, 2012
Kaplan provides Dr. Seuss-style quotable inspiration, sometimes amusing, sometimes silly, sometimes practical, and sometimes baffling. It's light, easy reading with simple line drawings to bring home key points.
I've read it more than once, a few months apart, so I'll agree that many readers will find quotable quotes in multiple readings. That said, the cuteness of "Everything Is Going to Be OK" does not mean you need to buy an extra bookshelf to display it. It's easy reading even if you're at the point of exhaustion, so if you need a worthwhile grownup bedtime story this fits the bill nicely.