A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings

ISBN:
9781953534453
Pub Date:
11/15/2022
List Price:
$18.95
ISBN:
9781953534538
Pub Date:
11/15/2022
List Price:
$18.95

An unexpected and poignant debut graphic memoir about a close-knit family approaching loss, and the wonder and joy discovered along the way.

During Will Betke-Brunswick’s sophomore year of college, their beloved mother, Elizabeth, is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. They only have ten more months together, which Will documents in fully illustrated pages. But as we follow Will and their mom through chemo and hospital visits, their time together is buoyed by laughter, jigsaw puzzles, modern art, and vegan BLTs. Best of all: the family is drawn as penguins and their friends are cast as a menagerie of birds. Together, they navigate uniquely human challenges: preparing for math exams, negotiating familial tension, and coming out as genderqueer in between chemo appointments and bedside chats with their mom.

In evocative two-color illustrations, A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings is an act of loving others and loving oneself, offering a story of coming-of-age, illness, death, and life that announces the arrival of a talented debut storyteller in Will Betke-Brunswick. At its heart, Will’s story is a celebration of a mother-child relationship filled with unconditional devotion, humor, care, and openness.

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Praise

  • Life does not deliver a series of discrete events, but a tangle of overlapping experiences. The author was working on a mathematics degree, playing on a hockey team, and slowly coming out as trans and nonbinary when their mom was diagnosed with cancer. This book weaves memories from the author’s childhood with scenes from the last few months of their mother’s life into a tender story of acceptance, care, and love. The heavy moments are lightened by the portrayal of the family as penguins, with friends and strangers as a flock of other birds, but the story is deeply human.

    —Maia Kobabe, author of Gender Queer

  • Will Betke-Brunswick’s A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings is a remarkable, but also chaotically specific, meditation on family and love. Will’s personable and charming penguins navigate through the months after their mother’s cancer diagnosis with an indomitable spirit and so so so much tender hilarity, even considering the subject matter. The rhythm of the lists Will uses in the book—final gifts from their mother, contents of a fridge, art in their house—are heartbreaking in how precisely they portray their family. I definitely have Strong Feelings about this book, and those feelings are largely that it is a stunning work that everyone ought to read.

    —Shing Yin Khor, author of The American Dream?