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Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  8,038 ratings  ·  1,769 reviews
Part poignant cancer memoir and part humorous reflection on a motherless life, this debut graphic novel is extraordinarily comforting and engaging.

From before her mother's first oncology appointment through the stages of her cancer to the funeral, sitting shiva, and afterward, when she must try to make sense of her life as a motherless daughter, Tyler Feder tells her story
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by Dial Books
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Tyler Feder As long as they’re prepared for the subject matter, this would certainly be okay for 8th graders! (The word “crap” is in there a few times, but other …moreAs long as they’re prepared for the subject matter, this would certainly be okay for 8th graders! (The word “crap” is in there a few times, but other than that, there’s nothing “inappropriate.”)(less)

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Average rating 4.53  · 
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 ·  8,038 ratings  ·  1,769 reviews

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Steven Feder
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My late wife (and Tyler's mother), Rhonda, was a bright, beautiful, sensitive, loving and very kind woman, unlike anyone I had ever known. She was a wonderful wife of 21 years and an adoring mother. She epitomized the meaning of the word "mother" and was totally devoted to her children. Rhonda "walked softly but carried a big stick". She was respected and admired by all who knew her and her loss was and continues to be seismic. In reading my daughter Tyler's memoir, "Dancing at the Pity Party", ...more
Tyler Feder
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I tried my best!!
This was really freaking beautiful. I cried a lot over this book. Losing my mom is something my brain can't even fathom and it's one of my biggest fears, and my heart completely broke for this author's story of losing her mom to cancer during her freshman year of college. Cancer is so horrible and awful and unforgiving and I just feel so much for families who have to go through things like this. ):

But the art in this book is absolutely gorgeous and bright and colorful, and the discussion about m
daph pink ♡
Jul 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a heartfelt and wholesome memoir.❤️💕
Katie Colson
May 14, 2022 rated it liked it
May 2022:
I read it a few months ago physically and there was so many points were the analogies would go on and on and on. Like the yoga poses for grief. Or constant lists. I don't care for repetition like that. It felt like filler.
But this time I picked it up on audio and it made my cry several times. This is a truly impactful story that is clearly written from understanding. I enjoyed it so much more the second time around. It is deep and hurtful but also so good for someone going through so
Dave Schaafsma
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-grief, gn-health
While I am not Jewish, I have had a lot of experience with Jewish culture through friends and one long term relationship where I was accepted as an "honorary Jew" and of course family member. And not to generalize too much or stereotype but it was easy for me to see the differences between my dour, serious Dutch Calvinist upbringing where we couldn't even dance at weddings, and I recalled no laughter at funeral parlors or in dinners after funerals, whereas at Jewish ceremonies, whether weddings ...more
may ➹
Dec 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
reading books about moms with cancer to feel alive (sad) again #win


Even though my mom is in remission, there’s always the fear that her cancer could come back. So reading this brought all those worries back to life, along with the urgency to make the most of my time with my mom in case something ever happens. This is such a personal, heartfelt, sad (but also humorous at times) memoir, and it really touched me.

:: content warnings :: death of parent from cancer, depictions of grief
It feels weird to give this five stars. Like I’m saying “woohoo! Your heartfelt memoir about the unimaginable pain of losing your mom to cancer was so good!” That’s not quite what I mean here. The first reason I’m giving it five stars is that it’s exactly what I needed. It’s been a little bit since I really stopped and let myself feel the grief, and the truth of the matter is that you can’t ignore it. Or I can’t. If you don’t acknowledge it from time to time it sneaks up on you and beats you up ...more
Olivia | Liv's Library
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay but I wasn’t expecting to ACTUALLY CRY?! I loved this.

You don’t need to have an experience with a family member being ill in order to relate to this story. The process of grief was described so well in this book and at times had me laughing out loud! It was such a wonderful variety of sadness, heart felt moments & things that made you laugh until you actually cry. I highly recommend picking this one up!

Thank you to Penguin Teen for so kindly gifting me a copy!
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have ever read about death and grief. When she was 19 years old, the author's mother died of cancer. Now, at 30, the author writes the book she wishes she could have read about loving someone, watching them fall sicker and sicker, die, and then what comes next. The immediate things: a funeral, sitting shiva, going back to her sophomore year of college. But also the much later things- the grief and memories that still resurface at surprising moments even a decade later. Tu ...more
I don't know how to rate this. This is a beautifully drawn graphic memoir that is essentially a personal grief therapy session, heartfelt and sad. I hope this was a healing exercise for the author, even though I can't say this is something that worked for me fully as a memoir. However, it's clear this book resonated with many readers.

Alternatively, I possibly have no heart?
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Completed my 2020 reading challenge with this book!
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was truly incredible. I loved every page.
Spencer Gibbons
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a funny, heartfelt, and poignant graphic memoir! This book will bring you comfort and help you feel understood if you've suffered with grief, and will provide essential insight if you haven't. My favorite thing about this book is that it made me laugh out loud and cry out loud. In my experience, it is very rare that a book can delve into serious, painful topics while also incorporating the levity that I believe instinctively goes along with suffering as a method of coping.

Well actually, my
Radhika Roy
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a refreshingly poignant graphic novel, with beautiful illustrations and even more beautiful writing.

“Dancing at the Pity Party” is Tyler Feder’s tribute to her mother who was struck by a late-stage cancer when Tyler was only 19. What follows is Feder chronicling her emotions as her mother grows sicker, passes away and then her experience in a motherless world. Throughout this cancer memoir, Feder attempts to inform her readers not only about how wonderful a human being her mother was, but
Basic B's Guide
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I feel seen. 💜

For anyone that has lost a parent or wants to to understand the complicated and messy grief journey that so many of us face.

I made it through without balling my eyes out but came close when she talked about how her mother changed when the cancer spread to her brain. I’ll never forget watching my mom struggle to remember my name and the frustration she had during speech therapy after her brain surgery. It absolutely broke my heart into a million pieces.

So much of the authors journey
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oddly enough I finished this on my brother's birthday (who passed away in '97), so grief and nostalgia have really been in my mind the last few days. I found this memoir very endearing and easy to read. The talk of grief was very relateable, especially the part with "dead mom" written on the side of the elephant in the room. Even 20+ years later it's something that crosses my mind when I meet someone new... How long until I have to break the "dead brother ice" and break this poor person's heart, ...more
Jul 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
It was honest, and tugged at my heart. A true love letter from Feder to her mother.
Reading_ Tamishly
Nov 25, 2021 rated it liked it
It's just okay for me. ...more
Rhea (Rufus Reads)
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Variety one is your regular crying because you relate to something and it feels so personal. And then there is variety two - where you don't relate to it, you don't really know what it's like - but the sheer depth of that potential grief, of someone else's lived experience, moves you to tears.

This book was a big variety two boo hoo machine. If you're someone who has experienced the grief of losing a loved one, picking this up is a no-brainer. But even if you are a "grief ally" - such that you ar
Fresh still in my own grief, Tyler's book about losing her mother to cancer at a young age really hit me hard. It's raw and visceral while also being quite funny. Everything she experienced in terms of grief is something I'm learning and understanding quite well, though our circumstances are obviously different. But the voice, the pain, and the ways that healing is non-linear are damn good here. I've always loved Tyler's work, and her marriage of art and storytelling are fantastic.

This will bri
Mar 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Wow - this was brilliant. It was recommended to me by the librarian at my local branch and it certainly did not disappoint. Raw, honest and heartfelt graphic memoir of the illness and ultimate death of her beloved mother. 💜💜💜

Oct 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’m in awe of how the author made a book about loss and grief, such heavy and complex subjects, somehow a light and warm read? It was so moving and humorous at the same time. I realIy love the raw, unfiltered honesty (including some uglier stuff like the author’s sense of guilt and frustrations), the cute, vibrant illustrations, and the witty humour.
Candace Hernandez
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you @penguinteen #PenguinTeenPartner for sending an ARC of #DancingatthePityParty my way! And an extra thank you for sending along the cutest little packages of tissues, because I certainly needed them. I didn’t even make it through the prologue without crying. 😭

When I was 13 years old, I lost my mom to stomach cancer. We all know those pesky teen years are rough, and losing a parent during that time (or any time, for that matter) added an extra layer of crap to it.

I had a feeling this boo
Sep 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Who would think that this book might utterly destroy you, reading it mere months after your mom died? I did!
Who still decided to read it? I did!
Who was still surprised that it utterly destroyed me? I was!

This graphic memoir feels like talking to a friend who knows me through and through. Am I sad? Yes. Do I still want to make horrible, inappropriate jokes? Also yes. Grab me a membership for her idea of a Dead Moms Club.

Feder encapsulates the smallest, innermost feelings of loss and grief in a wa
I am sad and everything hurts. I probably would've finished this faster if I wasn't busy crying my eyes out. 10/10 would recommend whether or not you've lost a parent or close family member, but especially if you have because I've never seen a book completely capture what it's like to lose someone to cancer down to the false hope on top of perfectly describing grief. ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After losing my own mother on Sept. 2019, I found this this deeply refreshing to read. I spent months after losing her searching for people my own age (28) that have lost their mother young like me. Tyler Feder's experience was much like my own. The feelings and writings of grief throughout this book are real, and truthful.

From the feelings of jealousy of people who have mothers, to saving literally everything my mother ever touched or used, to dealing with first holiday's, birthdays, not being
Rod Brown
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Tyler Feder was a freshman at college when her mom died of cancer at 47. It was pretty easy for me to identify with this tale of loss and grief as my father died at 52 just before my sophomore year of college and my mother died a decade later of cancer at age 54. I am now on the verge of living a longer life than either of them.

While there is nothing revelatory herein, it was comforting to recognize similar thoughts about mourning, and I welcomed the prompt to revisit the lives and deaths of my
I really liked this graphic memoir. I thought it would make me cry since it's father's day and I have lost my dad. It didn't (not good or bad) but it made me feel seen. Talking about grief with even family can be awkward so it can be even worse talking about it with your friends - especially with those who don't know what you're going through. So reading Tyler's story of her mom and her grief and being able to connect with that felt really good. Our stories are similar but different but I tota ...more
Kate Olson
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Poignant and honest and crazily enough, funny too. I can’t think of a more touching memorial to a dearly loved mother than this book. I don’t belong to the club, but this book really did help me understand how to be a better friend to others who are going through this particular hell. Also, maybe can the world tone down the Mother’s Day marketing?
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