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What I Hate: From A to Z Hardcover

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What I Hate: From A to Z + Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir + Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006
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Read the introduction to What I Hate: From A to Z. [PDF]

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608196895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608196890
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this neurotic spin on the classic alphabet book, longtime New Yorker staff cartoonist Chast shares a few of her least favorite things, with each letter suggesting a horror that you may never have even considered worrying about before: G for general anesthesia, K for kites, S for spontaneous human combustion, V for vision loss... Chast's funny, fuzzy-lined drawings make even the most mundane object send chills of unease down your spine... hypochondriacs and fans of Chast's twisted sense of humor will especially rejoice." - Library Journal
"With realistic, tongue-in-cheek foresight, the author spotlights a selection of the most commonplace, phobia-inducing situations (elevators, air travel, heights, etc.) and defuses them with brilliantly dry, flippant humor. A hilarious, collectively appealing index of words and pictures drawn with wry exuberance and a head-nodding relevancy." -Kirkus Reviews
"Chast's nervous cross-hatching and wiggly, double-penned lines are perfect for this catalogue of urban anxiety... Readers will find it most amusingly shocking to run across a worry they thought was uniquely theirs -- realizing that someone else has considered all the ways you could die at a carnival is perversely comforting... An entertaining, rewarding flip-through." - Publishers Weekly
"An abecadarium of worry, doom, and gloom that is funny, fresh, and relatable." - Reader's Digest online

About the Author

Roz Chast was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978. Since then she has published hundreds of cartoons and written or illustrated more than a dozen books.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
It's a fun book, aimed more at adults than kids.
Karissa Eckert
She is a down-to-earth unique human being who manages to see something funny in almost any situation.
Unfortunately, I don't can't include photos in this review.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In "What I Hate from A to Z," Roz Chast vents about her aversions in alphabetical order. Her zany sense of humor is on glorious display here, as she disparages people and objects that most of us would consider innocuous. For example, "B" is for balloon. We all love balloons, right? They are colorful, happy things that add zest to a celebration and bring kids joy, especially when clever adults bend them into cute little animals. In Roz Chast's wacky world, sadistic individuals foist these treacherous objects on innocent and unsuspecting children who are unprepared for the "imminent explosion" that is sure to follow. Chast also hates carnivals, and her tirade against "brutish carnies," "dangerous rides," and "carcinogenic food" is accompanied by a cartoon of a crazed clown pointing to "attractions" that are "not fun for all."

Chast has a ball criticizing everything from overbearing and incompetent doctors to the color yellow ("too bright, almost shrill"). Is she really a maestro of misery who imagines a fly in every bowl of soup? Who knows? What is certain is that Roz Chast is a terrific cartoonist whose work has appeared frequently in the New Yorker. The author embraces tastelessness; she includes serious illness, general anesthesia, and vision problems in her daffy diatribes. Even when her wit falls flat, Chast's drawings are cheerfully depressing, both hilarious and gloomy at the same time. "What I Hate from A to Z" is notable for Roz Chast's maniacal illustrations and deliciously warped psyche.
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Format: Hardcover
If you can make it past the introduction without laughing out loud, you're a stronger person than I am. Roz Chast has taken an alphabetical list of her greatest fears (you can take almost any word and add "-phobia" to it, she points out) and catalogued them for our own edification. You will find the familiar here (carnivals, of course--in what world are carnivals not frightening?) and some less obvious (balloons--because they are all waiting to explode, "and where's the fun in that?"). Chast's fear of elevators ("the perfect storm of claustrophobia, acrophobia, and agoraphobia") is drawn out with particular wit.

Chast has been a cartoonist for The New Yorker for some three decades now, and she brings all that humor and charm to bear in What I Hate from A to Z, a book that she explains was born out an alphabet game she plays while trying to coax herself into sleep. Each two-page spread in the book covers one topic, the left-hand page offering a brief description of the artist's fear and the right-hand page bringing it to life.

What I Hate from A to Z is charmingly hilarious and unexpectedly thought-provoking. Although you'll wish it hadn't provoked those thoughts. When she reaches the letter Z, the end, you know exactly where her mind is going to go. You're right there with her, for better or for worse. But it's well worth it. Your mind may be troubled from it all, but your belly will be pleasantly sore from all the laughs along the way.

Reviewed by John Hogan
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Eckert on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked an advanced reading copy of this book up at Book Expo America. It just looked like too much fun to pass up. It's a fun book, aimed more at adults than kids. Kids can read it but some of the stuff will go right over their heads.

After an introduction explaining Chast's struggles with anxiety, you delve into an alphabet of things Chast hates. Each letter gets a page describing something Chast hates (for B it is Balloons) and on the facing page there is a funny cartoon depicting or expanding on the fear/hate.

This book is cleverly done, entertaining and funny. People who are a bit anxious about things will definitely relate, people who've never been anxious a day in their lives will still laugh at the crazy hates Chast comes up with. The cartoons are clever and the dialogue sparse (just enough there to add some humor and clarify things).

This is a very quick read, more like a children's picture book than anything else. It is aimed more at adults though. There are references to some older things that kids just won't get. There is also a lot that just goes right over a kid's head.

Overall a fun and quick read. The illustrations are great and the book is cleverly put together. I recommend it to people who have anxiety problems, or just people who like to read humor. A fun book and I am glad I gave it a read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a longtime fan of Roz Chast's cartoons in The New Yorker, I thoroughly enjoyed reading her new collection, What I Hate: From A to Z. A perfect riff on a children's ABC book, Chast chronicles her list in both grim and hilarious scope. Any reader who can laugh at a bit of neuroticism in oneself and others will appreciate this book. It can also provide a perfect gift to that special someone, especially a person who hates at least one of the things that Chase highlights.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer VINE VOICE on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Book Description

Roz Chast has been creating cartoons for the New Yorker since 1978. Right there, you know you'll get a combination of funny and smart. The book is exactly what the title says it is: a list of things that Roz Chast hates from A to Z. Each letter gets two pages. On the left side is some text (usually very short) describing exactly why Chast hates a particular thing. On the right side is a full-page drawing that illustrates the reasons further. Both the text and the drawings complement each other beautifully; I wouldn't have wanted one without the other. Perhaps the best way to appreciate the book is with some examples. (Unfortunately, I don't can't include photos in this review.)

My Thoughts

This book is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. As I read, I found that Roz Chast's fears were slowly becoming my own fears. "Hmmm," I'd think to myself, "I never really thought about tunnels in that way before." And I confess to thinking the exact same thing she does when the lights dim in the theater. And, thanks to this book, I now view balloons as nothing more than "imminent explosions."

My only complaint is that the book is far too short. I'm positive that someone as anxious as Roz Chast could have done a dictionary and had multiple entries for each letter. The book was over far too soon. I definitely plan on checking out other Roz Chast books.

Recommended For: Roz Chast fans, readers looking for a mix of funny and terrifying. However, it is NOT recommended for people with anxiety issues or hypochondria; nothing good would come of that. HAHA!
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