Dancing at the Pity Party
Dancing at the Pity Party
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Annotation: "Tyler Feder shares her story of her mother's first oncology appointment to facing reality as a motherless daughter in this frank and refreshingly funny graphic memoir"-- cProvided by publisher.
Catalog Number: #215105
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: c2020
Pages: 201 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-525-55302-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7976-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-525-55302-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7976-0
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2019050647
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
This moving and candid graphic memoir offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of grief and growing into adulthood "for anyone struggling with loss who just wants someone to GET IT." Through narration, flashbacks, and playful graphic elements, Feder depicts her experiences before, during, and after her mother's cancer diagnosis and subsequent death in 2009, when the artist was a sophomore in college. The typeface of the first-person text appears hand-lettered, within and around panels that are not-quite-straight, creating an intimacy and immediacy that highlight the narrator's casual, vulnerable, and sometimes comical voice. ("Not to be melodramatic, but it was THE WOOORST.") Reflections on mental health, Jewish identity, and adjusting to college life make Feder's memoir feel distinct and genuine. She includes "the good, the bad, and the awkward" moments, too; in one scene, family members smile cheerily for a photo while simultaneously sitting shiva and celebrating a birthday. Back matter includes photographs and mementos. Sincere but not sappy, this bittersweet and affecting meditation on the author's experiences also serves as a heartfelt celebration of her mother's life.
Kirkus Reviews
The experiences of watching a mother succumb to cancer and grieving her death are explored with honesty and compassion.Feder (illustrator: Unladylike, 2018), the oldest of three sisters in a close-knit Jewish family, grew up with an artistic, spirited, playful, and affectionate mother, someone whose high spirits were the perfect foil for her daughter's anxious personality. The summer after Feder's freshman year of college, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, dying in the spring of Feder's sophomore year. This vulnerable memoir is a tribute to a beloved woman as well as a meditation on losing a parent when one is on the cusp of adulthood. Much like grief itself, the book careens from deep despair to humor to poignancy, fear, remorse, and anger, mirroring the emotional disorientation that comes with such a significant death. By sharing many particulars about her mother—the foods she loved and hated, the silly in-jokes, her endearing (and annoying) quirks—Feder personalizes her loss in a way that will resonate with members of the "Dead Moms Club," with whom she describes having an immediate bond. Readers who have not experienced deep grief will learn from the missteps of well-intentioned friends and acquaintances. The pastel-toned illustrations effectively convey Feder's youth and the intensity of her emotions while emphasizing the ultimate message of survival and resilience in the face of life-changing grief.Cathartic and uplifting. (Graphic memoir. 12-adult)
Publishers Weekly
After the author-s mother dies of uterine cancer when her oldest daughter is 19, Feder (Unladylike for adults) finds herself longing for something -that cradles my grief without smothering it.- Emphasizing the awkward and silly moments surrounding death, she has created the book she wanted to read. Her mom -wasn-t some sad sack in a sickbed waiting to die (even when she WAS a sad sack in a sickbed waiting to die),- nor was she a saint, and Feder brings her meaningfully to life. In one of many sweetly evocative scenes, she recalls the intimate surprise of knowing immediately which font her creative mother would have wanted on her own funeral pamphlets. Feder-s simple art features light pink backgrounds, a diverse cast of supporting characters, and details that make the story feel real (covered mirrors during the shivah, for example). The so-called pity party is illustrated in charming family scenes and flights of fancy such as -the app I wish existed: Dead Mom- (-Look up any movie to find out if the mom dies in it!-). Until that app exists, this book offers a wealth of perspective about coping with grief. Ages 12-up. Agent: Monica Odom, Odom Media Management. (Apr.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 8 Up-Feder's tender memoir of coping with a parent's death deftly and sensitively blends joy, anguish, and even whimsy. The author was just 19 when her mother, Rhonda, was diagnosed with stage-four cancer, with little chance of survival. Feder was often away at college while her family oversaw Rhonda's treatment in Florida. During a visit home, Feder was shocked to find Rhonda had taken a turn for the worse, passing away mere days later. Equal parts celebration, reflection, and mourning, this graphic memoir touches on the unpredictable path of grief. Feder shares her experience of navigating death with beauty and raw honesty. At times, the pastel coloring belies the somber moments, but the powder soft pinks also celebrate Feder's memory of Rhonda and emphasize Tyler's youth. The minimal backgrounds center the focus on Feder and her family, and the controlled but loose lines speak to the ever present conflict between Feder's need for stability and the chaos into which she was thrust. The chapters end with illustrated tips, lists, and other quirky yet informative extras. VERDICT Grieving teens will find incredible solace in Feder's story; all readers will be stirred by this wrenching yet uplifting musing. Hand this one to readers who are ready to move past Raina Telgemeier's work and take a step closer to Lucy Knisley's memoirs. Alea Perez, Elmhurst Public Library, IL
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Feder celebrates and mourns her beloved mother in this pitch-perfect memoir of love, grief, and healing. Told with deep honesty and not a whiff of self-pity, Feder recalls the diagnosis, swift decline, and death of her mother, Rhonda, from an aggressive cancer, and the devastation she a sophomore in college d her family experienced following that loss. Much of the story focuses on the "new normal" of living with grief and how that affects every part of your day, how "dead mom" feels like an invisible, heavy load that is carried everywhere. What is evident on the pages is how deeply Feder loved and now misses her mother. Rhonda was beautiful, goofy, and loving, but she isn't depicted as a faultless saint, and her annoying quirks are all the more poignant for it. The deeply honest mix of emotions is equally evident in Feder's illustrations. The simple cartoon figures, despite minimal detail, are highly expressive, and a soft color palette, abundant with pale pinks, keeps the tone light even when things get dark. Grief can be crushing, but this heartfelt memoir will comfort those who have known it and gently show those who haven't how to help and what to expect.
Word Count: 17,292
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 510125 / grade: Upper Grades
Guided Reading Level: T

Part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life, this debut graphic novel is extraordinarily comforting and engaging.

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.

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