Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Mom’s Cancer

April 18, 2012

Author: Brian Fies

Title: Mom’s Cancer

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 115

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period:  2011

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Cancer is never an easy subject to discuss but in this honest graphic novel, Mom’s Cancer discusses one family’s experience with lung and brain cancer. Brian uses his art to be straightforward with his reader about the hardships that him and his family members dealt with after learning about his mother’s cancer.  Written from the words of his journal, Brian turned the text into bold and moving illustrations. His art is bold, reflective and thoughtful. His ability to capture emotion on a page is memorizing as the reader will captivated from image to image.

Subject Headings: Autobiographical Comic Book, Relationships, Graphic Novels, Family, Science Fiction

Appeal: Cancer, Family and Relationships, Memoir, Quick Pace, Thought provoking, Character Driven, Moving, Candid, Honest, Emotional, Powerful, Moving, Well-Developed, Straight-forward, Reflective

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Family and Relationships, Cancer and Graphic Novel

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Mom: 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home Moms by Jack Canfield. This non-fiction novel contains 101 stories from mothers who have all made the choice to be a stay at home mother or work from their home all while raising a family. These high-performing women have become powerful mothers who write from the heart about trying to be “perfect” for their children and themselves. This is a great book club book and empower all women who strive to want something better for themselves and their families.

            Stitches by David Small. David awakes from an operation to discover he can no long talk. It isn’t until several years later at the age of 14 that he finds out he had cancer and was not expected to make it through the night. This award-winning child’s author and illustrator recreate his childhood events in a painful, highly anxious and painful story.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Lacks. This novel takes a look at an African American southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors.  Henretta became the first “immortal” human to have her cells grown in culture and with the help of her cells, the polio vaccine, secrets of cancer viruses and the atom bomb’s effects were all developed although she has been deceased for more then 60 years. Rebecca Skloot takes a look at her life before and after she became known as HeLa. A well researched novel that will bring numerous topics to be discussed around book club members and family alike.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. A heartwarming novel about the relationship between both mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. It portrays evolving family dynamics, choices and changes. The novel flips back and forth between two perspectives; 12 year old Ginny who experiences abandonment of her mother along with 47 year old Ginny who is flying to visit her mother who she hasn’t seen in 35 years. Ginny learns how to confront painful choices that occurred in her life as well as surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best. A gripping tale depicting grudges, forgiveness and the importance of having a mother-daughter relationship.

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. Zoe’s mom is dying of cancer, her father id distracted and her best friend moved away. She feels utterly alone until she meets Simon, who wants to avenge his own mother’s death which was over 300 years ago. Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before.  Does Simon ask Zoe to help him with his chase or does she have to suffer forever? The point of you alternates between Zoe and Simon allowing the reader to draw close to each character. This does have a different spin on romance between humans and vampires showcasing that life is valuable and should be lived or move on to the next stage of their life.

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar. A novel about a man named Paul Giamatti who finds out he has lymphoma and must begin chemotherapy. This graphic novel does a wonderful job discussing the struggles that families go through when dealing with the news. It emphasis’s the energy to survive not just cancer but the treatment as well. It’s a gripping tale that will embrace cancer and the troubles it brings to both its patients and their family members. The tone is soft, encouraging and insightful.

Lost & Found

April 5, 2012

Author:  Jacqueline Sheehan

Title:  Lost & Found

Genre:  Women’s Lives

Publication Date:  2007

Number of Pages: 278

Geographical Setting:  Maine

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Rocky Pelligrino

Plot Summary:   Rocky (Roxanne) came home one day to find her husband Bob unconscious on the bathroom floor.  Her instincts, left over from her lifeguarding days, kicked in, but it was not enough to save him.   His death came suddenly from a heart condition that put him at risk for cardiac arrest.  Rocky decided to take a yearlong leave of absence from her job as a psychologist.  She felt she could no longer counsel her patients while she was grieving herself.  She decides to move east to Maine, somewhere where no one would know of nor ask about her recent loss.  She falls right into place in Maine making new friends, finding a place to rent, and starting a new job as the Animal Control Warden.  While on the job, Rocky volunteers to provide a foster home for a wounded black lab she names Lloyd.  With the help of her new canine friend Rocky begins to overcome her grief.  At times the perspective switches to Lloyds and the reader sees how the lab is actively trying to help Rocky through her grief.  Eventually news of Lloyd’s previous owner surfaces and Rocky is faced with the possibility of losing the relationship that has been holding her together.

Subject Headings:  Animal welfare – fiction, heart attacks – fiction, Maine – Fiction, psychologists – fiction

Appeal:  heartwarming, remarkable pets, heart disease, widows, loss, grieving, new careers, friendships, relaxed pace, cancer, archery, animal cruelty, emotional disorders, eating disorders

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heartwarming, overcoming grief, remarkable pets

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Dog Years (2007) by Mark DotyDoty relies on the unconditional love and joy of his two retrievers, Beau and Arden, to comfort himself and his terminally ill partner Wally.  Dog Years is a story of remarkable pets and of dealing with death and grief.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (2008) by Vivki MyronThis heartwarming book is about a librarian who unexpectedly adopts a cat.  The remarkable pet becomes a library mascot and fosters lasting friendships.

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Loyalty, Healing, and Inspiration by Allen AndersonThis book is collection of stories about women who were healed or nurtured by their extraordinary dogs.


3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

 Abide With Me (2006) by Elizabeth StroutWidower Tyler Caskey is grieving from the loss of his wife Lauren in a small town in 1950s Maine

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst  – Paul Iverson investigates the mysterious death of his wife with the help of his dog Lorelei.  Paul believes he can get Loerelei to communicate with him the true nature of his wife’s death.

Home Safe (2009) by Elizabeth Berg – Helen Ames has recently lost her husband Dan.  In her grief she is no longer able to maintain her career as a writer.  This Women’s lives genre novel deals with grieving and overcoming loss.

Noel M.