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Dancing at the Pity Party

By: Tyler Feder

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.

Captioned full-color family photographs. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780525553021

JLG Release: Sep 2020


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language , Social Issue: Harsh Realities of Life , Violence: Death
Topics: Tyler Feder (1989- ) , Mothers and daughters , Children of cancer patients , Terminally ill parents , Death of a parent , Grief , Bereavement , Memoirs , Graphic novels , Healing

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Awards & Honors

2021 Sydney Taylor Young Adult Literature Award

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal*, Publishers Weekly*, Library Journal, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Booklist*

School Library Journal

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, Fe 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. 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.

Library Journal

Feder (Unladylike) had just finished her first year of college, was managing being away from her awesome family, and heading toward the best years of her life when tragedy struck. Here, Feder tells the story of her mother’s diagnosis with late-stage cancer, the chemo appointments that followed, her mother’s eventual death, her funeral, and shiv Feder (Unladylike) had just finished her first year of college, was managing being away from her awesome family, and heading toward the best years of her life when tragedy struck. Here, Feder tells the story of her mother’s diagnosis with late-stage cancer, the chemo appointments that followed, her mother’s eventual death, her funeral, and shiva. As Feder faces life without her mother, her feelings of sadness, loss, and hope will resonate with those who still have their moms in their lives and those who don’t, as well as anyone who has dealt with grief or have struggled to help others through the process. Throughout are helpful pointers for coping through difficulty and a resounding personal message of I understand you. Feder’s colorful, realistic illustrations, rendered in unusual paneling styles, bring her cherished mother to life and offer a refreshing take on a subject no one wishes to talk about, compelling readers to reexamine their own understanding of the grieving processes and that of others.

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 i 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 and 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 WOORST.") 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 cherrily 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 auhtor's experiences also serves as a heartfelt celebration of her mother's life.

Book Details

ISBN

9780525553021

First Release

September 2020

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

362.17

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

208

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Dial

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language , Social Issue: Harsh Realities of Life , Violence: Death

Topics

Tyler Feder (1989- ), Mothers and daughters, Children of cancer patients, Terminally ill parents, Death of a parent, Grief, Bereavement, Memoirs, Graphic novels, Healing,

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