This graphic memoir is the funniest sad book you'll ever read. It focuses on the author's experience with her mother's cancer diagnoses, treatments, death, and funeral, all of which occurred when Feder was a young college student. I'm thoroughly impressed by Feder's ability to unflinchingly hone in on the deeply terrible while, at the same time, finding the bright points and using them to lift up the edges of this heavy story, lightening the emotional load on the reader. It provides an honest portrayal of grief, one that recognizes its many forms - from feeling crushed under a debilitating layer of sadness, to planning a hilariously inappropriate birthday party during a Shiva, to creating a "my mom died young" reaction bingo as a coping mechanism for annoying platitudes. This is the perfect read for anyone suffering through or anticipating the death of a loved one. — Nadja Tiktinsky
This acclaimed graphic memoir that Kirkus calls “cathartic and uplifting” is the tale of losing a parent and what it feels like to grieve and to move forward.
“I can’t recommend this kind, funny, and poignant memoir enough. It’s an intimate, life-affirming story of resilience that feels like a good friend.” —Mari Andrew, author of Am I There Yet?
Tyler Feder had just white-knuckled her way through her first year of college when her super cool mom was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Now, with a decade of grief and nervous laughter under her belt, Tyler shares the story of that gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, extremely awkward time in her life—from her mom’s first oncology appointment to her funeral through the beginning of facing reality as a motherless daughter. She shares the sting of loss that never goes away, the uncomfortable post-death firsts, and the deep-down, hard-to-talk-about feelings of the grieving process.
Dancing at the Pity Party is a frank and refreshingly funny look at what it’s like to grieve—for anyone struggling with loss who just wants someone to get it.
About the Author
Tyler Feder is a Chicago-based artist whose work explores Big Feelings, feminism, and pop culture. She graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Radio/TV/Film and a fancy certificate in Creative Writing for the Media. After college, she studied comedy writing at The Second City Training Center and began posting drawings online, both of which were equal parts thrilling and terrifying. Since then, Tyler has illustrated Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin’s Unladylike, Leah Henderson’s Together We March, and many angsty self-portraits. Tyler wrote andillustrated the acclaimed picture book Bodies Are Cool, and she continues to sell prints and the occasional portrait at her long-running Etsy shop, Roaring Softly. Tyler’s favorite color is pink (obviously).
Sydney Taylor Young Adult Book Award Winner School Library Journal Best Book of 2020 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens List YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Nominee
★ "Sincere but not sappy, this bittersweet and affecting meditation on the author’s experiences also serves as a heartfelt celebration of her mother’s life.” —Horn Book
★ "Feder’s simple art features light pink backgrounds, a diverse cast of supporting characters, and details that make the story feel real . . . this book offers a wealth of perspective about coping with grief." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Equal parts celebration, reflection, and mourning, this graphic memoir touches on the unpredictable path of grief . . . Grieving teens will find incredible solace in Feder’s story; all readers will be stirred by this wrenching yet uplifting musing." —School Library Journal, starred review
★ "Feder takes readers along on the nightmare road trip that nobody wants to make in a frank and funny, intimate and poignant graphic novel . . . The narrative, in peppily solid panel art, is exceptionally articulate and accessible." —BCCB, starred review
★ “Grief can be crushing, but this heartfelt memoir will comfort those who have known it and gently show those who haven’t how to help and what to expect.” —Booklist, starred review
"The pastel-toned illustrations effectively convey Feder's youth and the intensity of her emotions while emphasizing the ultimate message of survival and resilience in the face of life-changing grief. Cathartic and uplifting." —Kirkus Reviews