And Then I Read: MOM’S CANCER

© Brian Fies.

I have to admit this is not the sort of book I would pick up and read on my own, it was a gift from the writer and artist, Brian Fies at San Diego this summer. I tend to shy away from realistic slice-of-life comics in favor of ones containing places and things I couldn’t experience in reality. Cancer in one’s family is something I have experienced, though from more of a distance than described here, and it wasn’t anything I’d want to repeat.

This book is a great example of how comics can make any subject interesting, sympathetic and understandable, however. The very act of telling a story with pictures invites readers into a world, and when the art is as charming as that of Brian Fies, it becomes a world one wants to continue visiting, page after page. And facing crushing problems and situations with a humor and clever visuals, as above, is comics at its best, in my opinion.

The most surprising thing about the story told in this book to me was the ending. I thought there could only be one obvious ending that any story containing cancer is going to lead to, but I was wrong. Rather than heavy tragedy, this book goes somewhere else, somewhere uplifting, without in any way dodging the seriousness of the subject. I’d offer this book to anyone who, like me, has had some real-life brushes with serious medical problems, it’s a heartfelt journey that’s hard to resist, and  eye-opening as well. Very highly recommended.

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