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Penguin: Putnam Trade Spring 2019

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Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault
Essays from the Grown-up Years
By (author): Cathy Guisewite
9780735218420 Hardcover English General Trade HUMOR / Form / Essays Apr 02, 2019
$36.00 CAD
Active 6.3 x 9.29 x 1.09 in 336 pages BLACK-AND-WHITE ART THROUGHOUT Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
From the creator of the iconic “Cathy” comic strip comes her first collection of funny, wise, poignant, and incredibly honest essays about being a woman in what she lovingly calls “the panini generation.”

As the creator of “Cathy,” Cathy Guisewite found her way into the hearts of readers more than forty years ago, and has been there ever since. Her hilarious and deeply relatable look at the challenges of womanhood in a changing world became a cultural touchstone for women everywhere. Now Guisewite returns with her signature wit and warmth in this debut essay collection about another time of big transition, when everything starts changing and disappearing without permission: aging parents, aging children, aging self stuck in the middle.

With her uniquely wry and funny admissions and insights, Guisewite unearths the humor and horror of everything from the mundane (trying to introduce her parents to TiVo and facing four decades’ worth of unorganized photos) to the profound (finding a purpose post-retirement, helping parents downsize their lives, and declaring freedrom from all those things that hold us back). No longer confined to the limits of four comic panels, Guisewite holds out her hand in prose form and becomes a reassuring companion for those on the threshold of “what happens next.” Heartfelt and humane and always cathartic, Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault is ideal reading for mothers, daughters, and anyone who is caught somewhere in between.

Story Locale: Los Angeles, Florida, Michigan

A CULTURAL ICON: Cathy Guisewite first launched the “Cathy” comic-strip in 1976, and more than forty years later she (and her cartoon alter-ego) is still beloved by fans. Guisewite has become something of a cultural icon, appearing on The Tonight Show fifteen times, charming both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson. When the strip said farewell in 2010, it was covered from CNN to Gawker to The New York Times to Saturday Night Live.

IMMENSE POPULARITY: The huge readership for the “Cathy” strip is a built-in book audience. Throughout the 80s and 90s the strip appeared in over 1,400 newspapers around the world. Though Guisewite has published nearly 50 comic collections, which have sold over 260,000 copies, this is her first narrative book.

THE REAL CATHY: The tone of Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault is different from what the limited format of the “Cathy” comic allowed—more honest, soulful, and at times edgy. Guisewite has been largely out of the public eye, and fans will be eager to get to know the woman behind the beloved comic strip.

PERFECT FOR FANS OF NORA EPHRON AND ERMA BOMBECK, with its funny and frank look at middle-age, as well as Guisewite’s slightly edgy and self-deprecating tone.

RELATABLE TIMELY TOPICS: These essays are focused on the experiences, both light and profound, of the “sandwich generation” of women who are caring for both their parents and their children, on topics such as sending kids to college and failing to organize a closet, but also issues such as instilling feminist values in her daughter—and watching her parents age.

RELEVANCY TO WOMEN TODAY: Guisewite remains relevant in the lives of women today—just last January she authored an extremely popular op-ed about Mary Tyler Moore and the Women’s March for The New York Times, and the “Cathy” comic was featured on many signs at the women’s marches.

FEATURED ARTWORK: Though Guisewite purposely wants to distinguish this collection from her Cathy comic collections (published by Workman), she will be including original spot art, interspersed throughout the text.

Cathy Guisewite is the creator of the “Cathy” comic strip, which ran in nearly 1,400 newspapers for thirty-four years. The strip earned Guisewite the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award in 1992, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for the TV special Cathy in 1987, and the high honor of having her work displayed on the fronts of refrigerators across the land. Cathy lives in California with her handsome and charming dog, Leo.

Author Residence: Santa Barbara, CA

Marketing: National author tour

National print campaign

Pre-publication events

Op-eds and author essays

Online advertising

Online promotions

Social media promotions

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Facebook:; Twitter: @CathyGwite; Instagram: @CathyGwite

“Cathy Guisewite must have discovered early that laughter is the only free emotion—the only one that cannot be compelled—because she gave us the gift of freedom in her Cathy comic strip. Now, in Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault, she has written a book that will help us free our lives to the very end.”—Gloria Steinem

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