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.)
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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 OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved