The Joy of Quitting

From toddler antics to doctor appointments, Keiler Roberts breathes humour and life into the fleeting present

Keiler Roberts affirms her status as one of the best autobiographical cartoonists working today with The Joy of Quitting, a work encompassing 8 years of hilarious moments in the author’s life, mined from the universal. It spans her frantic child-rearing, misfires in the workplace, and frustrating experiences with the medical system.

In one strip, the author and her daughter Xia have itchy scalps. Roberts asks her husband to check her hair and all she gets is the cursory remark that he just sees “a bunch of bugs.” In another, Xia describes her oddly shaped poop in precise detail. We then see Xia sitting at the breakfast table telling the family that she recently learned the word “nuisance” and everyone agrees it’s a good word for her to know. As Xia grows from toddler to big kid, the family evolves and its dynamics shift in subtle ways, changes that pass all too suddenly in real life captured forever with Roberts’s keen observational humour.

The Joy of Quitting is Roberts’ magnum opus of domestic comedy, highlighting how she continues to work within and expand the rich tradition of autobiographical comics. Again and again, Roberts shows us that most meaningful moments or gestures often don’t have any meaning at all.

Cover image for The Joy of Quitting by Keiler Roberts
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“I love the way… Keiler Roberts use[s] diary comics to endow small, throwaway moments with the dignity and weight of larger ones.”—Liana Finck, The New York Times

“Her work gives off a kind of radical stillness. It always lowers my blood pressure... Keiler Roberts is my new hero.”—Christopher Borrelli, The Chicago Tribune

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