A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings (2022)



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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 evocative two-color illustrations. 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. In a delightful twist, Will portrays their family as penguins, and their friends are cast as a menagerie of birds. In between therapy and bedside chats, they navigate uniquely human challenges, as Will prepares for math exams, comes out as genderqueer, and negotiates familial tension.

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 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.

From: Tin House Books

Notes on This Title

This a memoir, set in the months after the author’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. The author describes their genderqueer identity throughout the text. Though primarily set while the author is in college, vignettes also show the author as a teen and younger child.


2022 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ+ Comics - Nominee


“Heartwarming reading.” (Source: Kirkus Reviews)

A Pros and Cons List for Strong Emotions is a memoir full of love, humor, and pain. It’s a story any mother would be proud for their child to have written, and a story any child should be proud to write.” (Source: New York Review of Books)

“A moving read for when you want to dig down into the sadness.” (Source: School Library Journal)


Geeks OUT: “Interview with Cartoonist Will Betke-Brunswick

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