G. Bianco, 2019
Tyler Feder’s debut graphic novel can be boiled down to “part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life,” however it turns out to be a lot more than that. Dancing at the Pity Party chronicles Feder’s experiences before, during, and after her mother’s battle with cancer and shows a different, but realistic side to the grief process.
From before her mother’s first oncology appointment through the stages of her cancer to the funeral, sitting shiva, and afterward, when she must try to make sense of her life as a motherless daughter, Tyler Feder tells her story in this graphic novel that is full of piercing–but also often funny–details. She shares the important post-death firsts, such as celebrating holidays without her mom, the utter despair of cleaning out her mom’s closet, ending old traditions and starting new ones, and the sting of having the “I’ve got to tell Mom about this” instinct and not being able to act on it. This memoir, bracingly candid and sweetly humorous, is for anyone struggling with loss who just wants someone to get it.
This book is everything I didn't know I wanted from a graphic novel. It’s funny, endearing, and tear-jerking in the best ways possible. I loved the way the images in this graphic novel complement the text and all of the minute little details within the images. This book will have you laughing and crying at this raw and honest account of dealing with the death of a parent.
The way that Feder doesn’t try to sugarcoat details or skip over the hard parts really lends itself to her raw and truthful way of storytelling. She is very honest in her explanation of her emotions during this time in her life and how it’s continued to change and affect her to this day. She shows readers that grief is not just something that happens and goes away; it is a process that changes your identity for the better and the worse.
This moving and wonderful story will have readers laughing and crying at the memories Feder shares about her mom and how her mom has influenced her life and continues to do so. While death is a scary thing, readers can take comfort in reading Feder’s story in knowing that they are allowed to be scared and frustrated and sad. But to not lose the happiness and joy that your loved one brought into your life. This book is available for purchase today and I can’t recommend it enough! I am eager to see what Feder will wow us with next.
*I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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