Our Miserable Life

by William Steig

Paper Book, 1990




New York : Noonday Press, 1990.


Our Miserable Life is a collection of drawings which includes a motley of God's creatures--men, women, dogs, cats, birds--in various dilemmas, predicaments, and vexed straits, and which, on the whole, bears out the title's suggestion that life is more a crock than it's a bowl of cherries. Some of the troubles afflicting these persons are obscure, although all are obviously of a grave nature, and yet we laugh when we look at them, for Steig is a comic artist in the same sense that Charlie Chaplin was. Chaplin could show us naked despair, and the death of hope in the little people of this world, and leave us strangling with laughter even as our hearts went out in sympathy. So Steig, who never ridicules his people, and who has no meanness in him, makes us laugh at their condition, because we know that but for the (temporary) grace of someone or other, we could be in the same fix, and when things get that bad, laughter is the only reasonable response.… (more)


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