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Mom's Cancer First Edition Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0810958401
ISBN-10: 0810958406
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

D on't let the title put you off: collecting the Eisner Award–winning Web comic of the same name, this story is more about how a life-altering event affects an entire family than another Lifetime disease-of-the-week story. When freelance writer Fies finds out his mother has both lung cancer and a brain tumor, her attempts to fight the disease—including rounds of radiation and chemotherapy—pull her entire family into the struggle. Fies is gentle but honest in telling his story. He refrains from painting his mother as a saint, depicting her instead as someone getting through a horrible situation by refusing to acknowledge just how bad it is. Nor does he shy away from the more complicated emotions his mother's health generates, including a sometimes heated rivalry with his two sisters (knowledgeable "Nurse Sis" and empathetic "Kid Sis"). Fies is most compelling when he finds insight in small details unique to his mother's experience, such as the strength she draws from a leather purse her father made while confined in a tuberculosis sanitarium. The clean, simple comic-strip quality of Fies's art fits the story perfectly, highlighting the gravity of the situation while cutting away undue sentimentality. Mom's Cancer is a quiet, courageous account of one family's response to a universal situation. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In a suave comic-strip style rather like those of Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury) and Berke Breathed (Bloom County), Fies traces the events of his mother's illness primarily from the perspective of her three children, including "nurse sis" and "kid sis" (adult but the youngest) as well as himself. After a "mini stroke," his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to the brain. A vital and positive woman who had been a model with hopes of Hollywood, she opted to fight the disease whole hog. Fies and his sisters pitched in to help her during the ensuing debilitation, seeing her through to tentative remission and an -eleventh-hour (as it happened) move to Hollywood with kid sis. Depicting a family dependably if warily dealing, not without anger and feelings of inadequacy, with each crisis and change that cancer brings, Fies' book may be one of the most well balanced contributions to the literature of coping with cancer. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams; First Edition edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810958406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810958401
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.6 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's less about Mom than her three adult children (pseudonymously portrayed here as the narrator, Nurse Sis, and Kid Sis) and how they cope with the news and subsequent treatment for Mom. Vivid visual metaphors (the Operation Game, superheroes, the "tightrope" of treatment) combine with heartfelt writing (smokers won't be pleased with how they're portrayed) for an unforgettable portrait of a family in crisis. It has a simple, clean graphic style that will appeal to readers who are not regular readers of graphic novels.

If your mother smokes, this, and and "the patch" would make an excellent present.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not a "funny" comic, although there are certainly some amusing pages, in a wry sort of way. What it is is really honest, without being maudlin or precious. Like the author, I am caring for someone with a serious illness, and so much rings true, it's refreshing to see someone's open-eyed rendition of what goes on in my head. I really appreciate how the author manages to portray the troubles and foibles of a real family honestly but without disrespect or meanness.

I bought the kindle version of this, which I don't love. On my iPad, the individual strips are too small to read, and you can't use pinch/spread gestures to zoom in and out on the page. Instead you have to open each image, and zoom in on that...and then tap the X to close it and move to the next. Most kindle books are so easy to read, just swiping from page to page...this one, not so much. Get the paper...unless, of course, you need a bunch of books to, say, read while your loved one sleeps in the hospital bed while your sit vigil, then go ahead, kindle's good enough.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My family shared many of the experiences of the author's family during my mother's cancer. It's compelling, touching and hopeful.
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Format: Hardcover
"What to do when pain rips through our brains like a tornado. We need the truth." - Barbara, the author's mother's, wrote that thought after reading this book.

This is an excellent graphic novel about one family's experience with Stage 4 Large-Cell Carcinoma (a.k.a. - Cancer).

A story is often only as good as the heart of the person telling it. If that sentiment is true, it explains in large part why this story is so good. If you can make a story about dealing with your mother's terminal cancer funny and life-affirming, you are creating a pretty intelligent and well-crafted piece of writing.

His artwork is consistently excellent, never distracting, and peaceful in the midst of life-threatening circumstances. The visuals are coordinated with the words fluidly, immediately conveying the ideas and emotions with very few ambiguities. This graphic novel won an Eisner Award in it's online format.

Brian Fies tells us in the preface, "Although I distrust stories with lessons, here is one: No one will care more about your life than you do, and no one is better qualified to chart its course than you are. You are the expert."

As you might expect, like all real stories, this one does not end with everyone living happily ever after. But fortunately, the characters do re-prioritize and choose to change the remaining time in their lives to live as happily as they can until there is no after.

As the preface accurately creates the expectation "Mom's Cancer is an honest, earnest effort to turn something bad into something good." I admire and encourage that human artistic drive, and Brian Fies is successful in achieving that goal and many other beautiful artistic goals.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having had several family members suffering the same or similar illness, this book really hit home. I could see myself and my siblings in Fies narrative. The emotions, the different responsibilities each child had, or felt they had, the fear and feeling helpless. For anyone who has experienced the rollercoaster ride called cancer, this book will remind you that you are not alone. Beautifully written and illustrated.
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Format: Hardcover
Recently I read the book Tyranny and I had a problem with the fact that it was solely about her eating disorders and as much as I wanted to care about the main character, I found that I just couldn't feel the empathy that the book was asking me to feel. One of the main problems with having a book about the author's personal problems, be it eating disorder or loneliness or cancer is that the book can become more therapy than art.

In this book, the art is primary and the angst surrounding the artwork is secondary. The book is about the author's mother struggling with cancer but it's not just about cancer. It's not a complete cancer book. Instead it's about who the mother is and how she is dealing with the cancer. Sometimes there are good days. Sometimes there are bad days. The siblings fight. The family comes together. The stepfather became a crazy hippie which is both good for him and bad for everyone else.

I guess the main difference between this book and others of its kind is the lack of self-indulgence. Not to create a false statistic but 90% of semi-autobiographical books are self-absorbed little numbers and if the books are about cancer or disease then that percentage rises (ok I just made it up but you get the point). THis one is actually entertaining and the characters are fully realized. I love the part where the siblings are transformed into superheroes and their fights are given epic metaphorical significance.

I also love the fact that the mother gets to speak for herself in the end.

This is a beautiful and moving book. I don't know anyone that close to me with cancer (several internet friends and distant cousins maybe) but I would recommend it to anyone - anyone with cancer in their family, yes - but anyone else. It is that good.
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