Read At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents' Place by Kate T. Williamson Online


After graduating from college and spending a magical year abroad writing the best-selling A Year in Japan, Kate T. Williamson felt ready for anything. But, like many a postgraduate, she needed some time to figure out just what that anything was. Her parents' house in Pennsylvania seemed like the perfect place for a brief layover, but twenty-three months later, Williamson wAfter graduating from college and spending a magical year abroad writing the best-selling A Year in Japan, Kate T. Williamson felt ready for anything. But, like many a postgraduate, she needed some time to figure out just what that anything was. Her parents' house in Pennsylvania seemed like the perfect place for a brief layover, but twenty-three months later, Williamson was still contemplating the past and the future, while explaining to curious neighbors that, at present, her life was "at a crossroads." At a Crossroads is a unique graphic memoir about the common, yet little-discussed, "boomerang years." With sharp wit and expressive drawings, Williamson illustrates the joys, disappointments, comforts, and embarrassments of life back home with mom and dad. Highlights and low points include celebrating her twenty-fourth birthday at a Hall & Oates concert with her mother; noticing the train sounds from her bedroom for the first time; battling an infestation of squirrels; discovering that the ballet class she has signed up for is actually for children, and attending anyway; getting mail from her college crush, who has developed an interest in taxidermy; wearing a chain-mail belt of her own creation to her cousin's Renaissance-themed wedding. Moving from season to season, Williamson uses her delightful illustrations and vivid descriptions to discover the beauty and truth inside every hilarious episode. At a Crossroads is a book for young and old alike, or for anyone contemplating the little things worth noting in the times of our lives we often erase from our histories....

Title : At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents' Place
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781568987149
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents' Place Reviews

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2018-12-30 11:13

    This is an issue that so many are facing today...returning to the nest because building your own nest is not possible. Kate Williamson takes us into her life 'on hold' as she tries to find her way in the world and live up to the expectations of family and friends; but should she expect her own expectations to take place while she tries to conform to the 'Kate' everyone thinks they know?

  • Jan Philipzig
    2019-01-18 13:38

    personal, quiet, amateurish, mundane, understated, likable, very subtly poetic

  • Alexandra
    2019-01-01 10:29

    omg i loved how fucking relatable this was. basically kate is 24 & moves back in with her parents after college for what is supposed to be a few months but ends up staying a bit longer than initially planned. what is so relatable, and i honestly think it will be to anyone, at most any age, is how many times kate is basically "confronted" by her neighbors and peers about what she is doing with her life, and what her plans are and why she's still in her parents house and is she dating anyone and did she finally finish her book yet and does she have a publisher etc etc etc now i understand that people like to make small talk and they just probably want to make others feel like they care/are interested when asking these types of questions but to some people, it's intrusive almost. and annoying to have to explain, no i'm not dating at this point, no i don't have a publisher yet but i'm working on it, i'm kind of at a crossroads right now, no i don't have kids yet, etc.kate was constantly having to explain/justify/answer questions about her life and i really feel like so many people can relate to not wanting to have to do that. idk, i just related so hard to kate loli'm glad she finally decided to make a move that will hopefully make her very happy. ✨

  • Kate
    2018-12-30 16:15

    A graphic memoir (illustrated with little text) about post-college crossroads. As someone who has temporarily boomeranged back into their parents house for several months between adventures, I could relate to almost all of it -- sometimes scarily and hysterically so. And, as an 80s kid, I appreciated the Hall n' Oates and movie references, so... this one was kind of made for me. A quick read -- makes for a nice afternoon read.

  • Dov Zeller
    2018-12-30 15:28

    This book is so mundane it's mundane. Williamson's emotional life feels inaccessible and the memoir seems to be about stalwart ordinariness or else just being way out of touch with one's own emotional and intellectual processes. Or, there is a fierceness to Williamson's protection of her inner processes and her right to claim her unsophisticated taste for music and daily activity. What makes this book work for me as much as it can work is her wonderful sense of humor and her quiet sense of the absurd and of completely unsublime awkwardness: Signing up for a ballet class she thinks is for adults and then finding herself in a class with kids half her age or younger and staying in it for no apparent reason (her particular form of inertia?); Being obsessed with Hall & Oates and refusing to be interested in a guy because he doesn't pass the "Hall & Oates" test; Taking roller skating lessons for no clear reason, at the age of 24(ish); Showing up at a baseball event--that she thinks is German dress-up themed--in lederhosen (and being the only one who is dressed up at all); Having some strange run-ins with squirrels including one in which she believes a squirrel she had removed from the rain gutter is giving her a reproachful look; Working at a florist shop and having a bit of a melt-down when someone asks for a 'funky' bouquet; Discovering a way to stop people who know her in small-town fashion from asking her questions about her life (this is where the title of the book comes from.)Being from Pennsylvanian (well, I left in 1989, but I was born and raised there and I believe my family has been there for 4 generations? Some of my great-grandparents settled there after leaving the shtetl. And both my mother and father grew up there for the most part) and having grown up not far from Reading, and having been in my teens in the 80s, I could relate to a certain feeling of existential despair. My situation was very very different (being queer, having a strained and toxic relationship with my parents and apparent sibling). But something in here felt familiar. Maybe I can just relate to growing up with some embarrassing enthusiasm for mediocre music, or to some kind of protective withdrawal behind excessive normalcy, though I am not sure what for her is withdrawal and what is just very particular temperament and tastes that I can't contextualize or understand because she chooses not to offer that kind of narrative analysis. This isn't an exciting book to read in terms of intellectual or emotional exploration, but there are interesting questions that came up for me when I read it--questions about what artistic taste is and adult behavior and artistic sophistication and how this all relates to artistic coming of age memoirs (portrait of an artist...) and graphic memoirs. This artist isn't seeking out any kind of intellectually engaged or counter-cultural community or experience and she isn't overtly grappling with big questions or trying to understand her place in the world or the universe (though I think it's in here in its way.)All in all this is between a 2 and a 3 but very affectionately so. I don't know if I will check out "A Year in Japan". I'm curious on one hand, and on the other hand not sure I want to venture into the potentially strange and distancing world of another Williamson memoir.

  • Arminzerella
    2019-01-07 11:17

    Kate T. Williamson came back from Japan to work on her book (A Year in Japan) and remained “at a crossroads” for a little over a year while she lived with her parents and planned what to do next. It’s a weird place to be – back in one’s old room, among people who knew you when (and not just family, but friends, neighbors, etc.), answering uncomfortable questions about what you’re doing with your life. This is what she did, what her life was like, how the seasons passed during that time.I know exactly what Kate’s going through (sans the experience of trying to put together a book to publish – my piece de resistance was cobbling together my applications for graduate school), and probably every 20 or 30-something will recognize this same meandering and indecision in themselves (because we’ve all been there, right?). I don’t think she quite manages to bring that feeling into this work, though, because it reads more like a list of things she did, things that happened, without really getting inside the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen to you, and not knowing how you’re going to make it (something! anything!) happen. I still like her watercolors, and she makes some good selections for inclusion in this book (the cover image of her stretched out across the very pink carpeting of her very pink childhood bedroom – face down – is very appropriate). But it’s like nothing happens. Even with all of the things that happen. Nothing is very big. And it doesn’t express all of the stuff that’s got to be going on inside of her. My mother was intrigued by this book when I asked for it (yay, Christmas gift!) – she said, “You could have written this!” Possibly. But I would have included all of the jangly, foot-jiggling impatience I felt.

  • Jason Pettus
    2018-12-20 11:11

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Yet another adorably cute graphic novel from an adorably cute 24-year-old hipster containing not even the slightest single bit of substance whatsoever. In this case, it's a record of the nearly two years the author spent living with her parents again as an adult, after getting back from a year in Asia and not knowing what to do with her life next; but what could've been a funny and wistful memoir about growing up (or at least a bitter and illuminating one) is instead an endless factual list of pointless minutia from this two-year period, like literally reading an operations log from the most cutely quirky military ship in history, which not even on a single page delivers even a single solitary insight into the human condition, other than that the author has an unhealthy obsession with '80s band Hall & Oates. Tolerable, I suppose, if you're in the habit of f-cking 24-year-old hipsters and need an obscure pop-culture reference to aid your quest to get laid ("Kate Williamson? I love Kate Williamson!"); but if you're not in the habit of f-cking 24-year-old hipsters, you should avoid this like the plague.Out of 10: 4.1

  • Ruth
    2019-01-18 11:19

    This autobiographical graphic novel takes us through a 2 year period when the narrator lives back in her parents' house after college while she's writing a book and thinking about what to do next. I really like the pace of it- funny chatty small anecdotes about her childhood room, various concerts she attends, her obsession with Hall and Oates (and that great punch-line about Phish), interactions with family, her general state of inertia, etc. are interspersed with pretty and wordless watercolors of the sky or snow or trees or her suburban street or what the foliage looked like through the screen of her window, which somehow tie it all together and give the whole thing a kind of magical feeling.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-24 09:13

    I loved this well-crafted book. I've read several similar memoirs, and this one goes to show you that their success (as books, not commercial success necessarily) is about good writing and (in this case) good art, not about unique or exciting experiences, or tongue-in-cheek cleverness. Some people can take a humble life intermission and make it interesting, and others can go to Paris and make it boring.

  • Arwen
    2019-01-02 09:14

    Such a wonderful book for anyone who has ever been in that weird, I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-with-my-life slump for a while. (Sort of like a midlife crisis only it can strike at any time.) Kate's endearingly rueful writing and beautiful watercolor illustrations are pitch perfect. Plus it will make you feel better because her story is as least as bad as yours.

  • Julie Ehlers
    2019-01-03 13:29

    A brief graphic novel, but some things worth noting. Beautiful watercolors. Good evocation of central PA and what it's like to move back in with your parents. Nice 80s music references. Story pretty common, but that's probably the point.

  • Aurora
    2019-01-08 17:26

    I can't think of another book that so perfectly captures post-college apathy. Sitting around your hometown, thinking about some things you should maybe do with your life, then just watching some squirrels for a while. Things seemed to have worked out for her pretty ok, so that's reassuring.

  • Alice
    2018-12-31 16:12

    Beautifully captures the awkward but wonderful lives we live in between the ones that fit more easily into other people's boxes of success.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-03 15:14


  • jess
    2018-12-27 13:14

    This is the sequel to A Year in Japan. Kate has returned home from Japan, she is working on her book, living at her parents' house and generally avoiding making decisions that will force her life in any particular direction. In that way, Crossroads encapsulates that post-college mid-20s aimless ambivalence that takes over your life if you don't fall directly into a predestined career after graduation. I appreciated the awkward, terrible questions from family friends, her parents' friends, neighbors, family members, and childhood friends' parents about her plans for the future -- really, it is an awful position to answer those same questions over and over about how aimless you are. Kate's representation of those situations was authentically awkward.I liked this book a little more than the previous book because it's more about her life and not just snippets of cultural artifacts, and there's more of a storyline. At the same time, there is not really a plot and not a lot of activity, unless you count the ways that Hall & Oates concerts become Cher concerts become Chicago concerts. The watercolor illustrations are pretty. I like how Kate uses perspective and scale to make the images more interesting. There are not any "tough questions" or complicated conflicts in this book. And isn't that like, so totally what post-college life is like.

  • Harris
    2019-01-16 09:18

    A follow up to her wonderful travel journal "A Year in Japan," Kate T. Williamson's next graphic memoir explores the awkward period after her return from Japan she spent living with her parents working to get her book published. Continuing her expressive use of watercolor art to depict the beauty of everyday life, the changing of the seasons in her parents neighborhood in Reading, Pennsylvania, and her struggles to decide which way to go at this crossroads in her life. Another very evocative piece of work, I found this book even more relatable, having spent some time living with my parents in that period between college and career and so much of her experiences echo my own, only expressed with such elegance and wit. A fun and quick read!

  • Mazohyst
    2019-01-07 12:08

    A fun and relatively short read. As a whole, the read is quite simple but the simplicity of the "every day life" makes you appreciate the little things. I love the drawings. Absolutely love them! Especially the detail that Kate puts into them. In one of the pages, she states that the owner of a roller skating rink turned off half of the lights. I counted the lights and counted the lights unlit. Sure enough, half of them where off! Not mention that I loved the intimacy her drawings had. The faces expressive yet (once again) simple. Also, my favourite pages were the ones that depicted the seasons going by.

  • Kate
    2019-01-10 12:09

    I kind of expected this to be better than it was. The art in the novel is really well done and I quite enjoyed looking at it much more than I did reading it. It did have interesting parts, but I found it hard to keep my interest especially since it was such a disjointed sort of story. The main character kind of reminded me of myself. It was kind of odd that way but it was a quite a "cute" story with good art.

  • Roberta Frontini (Blogue FLAMES)
    2019-01-01 15:19

    Gostei.. as ilustrações são qualquer coisa, mas faltou algo na história para que se tornasse num livro de 5 estrelas :)

  • Keri (JD)
    2018-12-21 12:22

    Amazing artist rendition of her life. I felt her feelings as she felt impacted by the lack of movement in her life

  • Lindsay
    2019-01-19 12:34

    beautiful illustrations but the story was thin.

  • Christine
    2019-01-14 12:22

    Beautifully drawn, but the story lacks a narrative push. It's like you're on the outside looking in, like one of her mother's friends, so you're only going to be allowed to see the outer self. The young person's angst of "being at a crossroads" pops up here and there, but isn't a major theme.

  • Menina
    2019-01-11 09:24

    At a Crossroads - Between a Rock and My Parents' Place (Kate T. Williamson) foi outro que me deixou olhando para um ponto indeterminado no infinito e piscandinho bem blé. Aquela coisa, né? Olha que situação difícil na vida dessa pessoa (posso estar errada, mas não há nada no texto ou no que li sobre o livro que me faça achar que eu esteja): após ter-se formado em Harvard, onde estudou cinema, a autora vai para o Japão, onde passa um ano. De volta para os EUA, vai morar com os pais. Inicialmente, o plano é passar 3 meses. Ela acaba ficando lá por quase 2 anos, quando ela tem um momento de conexão íntima com o Universo e as energias telúricas e bling!, tudo passa a fazer sentido: ela vai mudar pra Nova Iorque.Quer dizer, né? Que vida di-fí-cil. Acaba de terminar a faculdade -- Harvard, no less -- e vai passar um ano no Japão pra, sei lá, curtir o design, a arte, a tradição orientais. Aí volta pra casa e resolve escrever/desenhar um livro sobre esse ano fora. Enquanto vai a shows, faz aulas de patinação e assiste tevê. Mas, gente, não é só isso. Olha quanta coisa ruim acontece. Proteja-me JC!, os esquilos começam a fazer barulho no sótão! E ela percebe que não há mocinhos pra ela paquerar porque eles todos estão no colegial! E ela joga, sem querer, uma bola de tênis na cabeça de uma menina!Podia ser emocionante? Lógico. Acho que quem escreve bem pode conseguir tirar leite de pedra. Faz do caso mais árido algo divertido ou interessante. Eu acharia o livro até que mais ou menos se não quisessem me vender que é pra eu ficar com pena dela porque, such a loser, ela tem que dar aulinha particular, não sabe o que fazer da vida e mora com os pais (que, aliás, pelo que está no livro não vêem nada de errado com toda a situação, não é que, nossa!, eles estão bravos ou indignados ou desapontados). Embora eu não veja nada de difícil nessa vida, pode até ser que fosse difícil pra autora. Mas ela não me conta isso. Ela só me mostra os pequenos fatos da vida e quer que eu sinta alguma coisa. Eu sinto: sinto muito. Se o livro tivesse outro nome, eu acharia mais ou menos. Porque os desenhos são super bacanas, mas o texto não acompanha. Não fico com pena, não fico triste, não fico alegre. Porque não tem história. Tem cenas. Olha eu jantando com os meus pais. Olha eu triste, deitada no chão do meu quarto. Olha eu passeando com o cachorro. Se me dissessem que são cenas da vida dela nesses 2 anos, eu estaria super ouquei, porque minha expectativa seria diferente. Se ela dissesse, olha, gente, eu fiz um diarinho, não é legal? É, é legal(zinho). Mas não me venha dizer que é pra eu super entrar na história, porque não dá. Não tenho os detalhes pra. Não entendo a babação de ovo por aí. Acho que as pessoas agora ficam impressionadas se alguém *faz* alguma coisa. Não precisa ser bom. Bastaria existir, bastaria ter iniciativa. O problema é que não basta.

  • Lydia.walker
    2019-01-07 16:12

    At a Crossroads Between a Rock and My Parent’s Place is the story of a college graduate’s experience moving home after a year in Japan to look for a job, a boyfriend, to write, something, ANYTHING. It’s also the story of her experience in doing so being slightly different than expected, different than what she believed to be “correct.” In Fletcher’s What a Writer Needs we find the concept of using words creatively. Williamson uses this idea of creating visualization through word choice in many ways; you learn that she uses the vanity plate on her mother’s bicycle to travel incognito. On a bus trip home from New York, another rider references her love for Chicago because of it’s razzle dazzle. Once after having squirrels removed from the wall of her parent’s home. Williamson becomes convinced that one of the squirrels gave her a “reproachful stare.” Towards the end of her time at her parent’s house, the questions of friends and family members about her work, her love life, her plans become too much. Williamson learns that a blanket “I’m at a crossroads” ends any further questioning, and allows the reader a visualization of her life at the point. As a teacher of writing I can ask my students to re-read this text and look for specific language that is meaningful or memorable for them and to explain their choice. This will allow my students to understand the role played by words used creatively.

  • Juli Anna
    2018-12-25 10:10

    BORING. Literally nothing happens in this book; I have never seen a cover illustration so appropriate to my feelings about his book. Even Williamson's drawings lack the spark of A Year in Japan. It's mildly interesting to anyone who has spent time in Reading, PA (I had a flash of amusement on recognizing the iconic pagoda that overlooks this city), but beyond that there is nothing redeeming about this book.

  • Dani Shuping
    2019-01-17 16:19

    I hesitate to call this a graphic novel, because it's really more of a slice of life memoir that's illustrated. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad thing, but after reading books like Lucy Knisley's French Milk and To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story I guess I expect a bit more out of a diary comic, something with a story to it. Instead Kate takes us through her year living at home with her parents after touring Japan and it's her everyday life that she illustrates. While again it isn't a bad thing, I just don't get anything that I can connect with or learn from.I also don't really care for the script chosen for lettering. It's in cursive and at some points I have to struggle to decipher the writing or to find the writing when it's hidden in the background. The illustrations are pretty good for a self taught artist using watercolors, which is one of the most difficult mediums to master. The colors are vibrant, crisp and clear and make reading the excerpts from the diary a bit more interesting.To me...I just can't connect with the author and so the book falls flat for me. I'm sure there are some folks that will enjoy it, but its just not my cup of tea.

  • Anna
    2019-01-04 17:15

    Oh, Kate... **high-five**I really liked the art work, also there wasn't much of a text, which is good, especially when your reading goes a little downhill. I can relate to a lot of things she write about, and there where pages that made me smile/laugh, which is rare these days. Read it if you liked A YEAR IN JAPAN (I'd suggest reading them in that order) or if you want an easy read and +1 to your 2014 Reading Challenge.=) But, at the same time, it's one of those "just-a-story"s, little glimpse in someone's real life, so you may don't like it as much, due to its simplicity. Read a sample, is what I'm trying to say.As for me, - can't wait for more graphic memoirs or other books by Kate T. Williamson.

  • Kerry
    2019-01-16 15:17

    I love the illustrations in this book! This book demonstrates a lot of complex issues from a graphic novel point of view. Where do you fit in when you are trying to find a job? How to explain that to others? The awkwardness of living with your parents as an adult. What is it like to go back home? How to report squirrels and make non-traditional Thanksgiving decorations? I enjoyed the author's creative take on the situations and could definitely relate to some of the frustrations. And maybe a little part of me wished she lived next door. I think she would make a great neighbor! All in all, a smart, creative, funny look at life as one job seeking, college-educated, just back from Japan person sees it.

  • Kevin Fanning
    2018-12-19 16:29

    I liked this. I was worried it would either be a) run of the mill overly introspective mid-20s "I don't know what to do with my life" crisis, or b) poor me I'm trying to write a book and living with my parents middle class white person woes. But it wasn't either.The story is: she leaves Japan and returns home to live with her parents while she works on a book. It takes a while, some minor things happen along the way, then she finishes her book and decides what to do next. It's really kind of nice. It's very peaceful and quiet, not at all twee or angsty or dramatic or cloying. Plus she's a big Hall & Oates fan, so.

  • Lauren
    2019-01-19 11:23

    I wanted more with this book. I like the subtlety of it, the idea of figuring out place and space in the world--I feel like it just didn't hold up. The artwork is ok--I enjoyed the pages without people and text the most--just not as exciting as I would have liked. And, though some of the cheeky reminiscing made me smile, I felt like the story was both disjointed and at the same time lacking. Maybe I've just read too many outstanding graphic novels and my expectations are too high?Anyway, my two cents. It's a quick read, but I'd focus on others you really want to delve into before you spend time on this one.