BAYA Book Review

Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder

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Feder, Tyler. Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir. Dial Books, 2020. 208p. ISBN: 9780525553021. $18.99.

Tyler’s mom is Rhonda. Rhonda is meticulous, comforting, and dead. Tyler Feder wrote and illustrated her graphic memoir about the passing of her mother, how cancer took Rhonda too early, and how Tyler now has to live without a mom. The graphic novel is comically raw. Every emotion Tyler ever had in relation to her mother, life, death, grief, are illustrated here. Rhonda comes alive as Tyler speaks her voice for us through memory and love. Tyler and Rhonda’s relationship is on every page and you feel Tyler’s pain, grief, and loss as she passes you through her life in illustrated form. This book is hard to read, especially if you have a loved one you lost too early or have dealt with cancer, but it is funny, uplifting, and reminds you that you are not alone.

Ultimately, this book is as lovely as it is hard to read. Seriously, bring a tissue box. The illustrations are cute and the humor Tyler brings to her highly focused story will still make you smile and laugh out loud.

It is hard to recommend a book so dedicated to loss and grief, but I wholeheartedly recommend Dancing at the Pity Party.

-Jessica Lundin, San Jose Public Library

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