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Mom's Cancer Hardcover – March 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0810958401 ISBN-10: 0810958406 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810958406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810958401
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,228,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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I came across this book by mistake looking for something else.
Iron Giant
The author was obviously deeply involved with his mother's day to day battle with her illness and his own ups and downs along the way.
R. G. Alves
Regardless of what part of this journey your family is at, I would highly recommend reading this book.
DancinCheri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eva C. Whitley on April 18, 2006
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: 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joe Smith on May 4, 2006
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy W. Lieder on March 22, 2011
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Butanis on December 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What a great book! Just loved the way the author used images to help tell such a powerful story. It is well done and inspiring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Iron Giant on February 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came across this book by mistake looking for something else. Something about the artwork and the brutally honest theme seemed to appeal to me, I love a true story more than a fictional one. When I got the book, I read the whole thing in just over an hour, then read it again and again. The story is mostly what it says, his mothers cancer. But every family has more than one story and Mr. Fies is very willing to let us in on his family's foibles and (sometimes embarassing) story. It is stories that most of us could tell, if we were willing to be that honest, but most of us are not that interested in laying out our family issues in this way. In fact, we owe him and his family a debt of gratitude for being willing to share this horrible experience with us.

If you smoke, get this book TODAY and stop. Just stop. If you love someone who smokes, get them this book. If you have a nurse or doctor in your life, give them a copy of this book. It shows the process of serious cancer from (mostly) a laymans standpoint. This book should be in the waiting room of every doctors office.
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