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Special Exits by Joyce Farmer – a Book Review

by Derrick

I just finished reading Special Exits by Joyce Farmer . I caught the LA Times review of the book and thought a graphic memoir about a caregiver and her parents, written by a funky old lady, sounded just great. I contacted the publisher and asked for a free copy in exchange for this review. It was sent right out.

This book is great, and if you read my last caregiver based book review, you know I don’t just say that. Special Exits is presented as a graphic novel, a black and white comic-style book. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and perhaps that’s why this book reads so quickly. The imagery tells half the story and it pulls you into the characters and story. This is a book that once you pick up, won’t want to put down. How many caregiving books are like that?

The memoir tells the story of Laura, who cares for Lars and Rachel, her father and step-mother. Lars and Rachel live in Los Angeles and don’t get out much. Laura’s visits begin as check-ins but by the end of the story has moved in. You experience Lars and Rachel’s decline and Laura’s emotions. Aging professionals reading this book will be able to tell this story is true.

This book would make a great addition to any elder care training program. Someone new to elder care will get a caregiver’s experience in a meaningful, heartfelt way through this book. It’s inviting and readers won’t get bored. Once you thumb through the pages you’ll want to dive in. It’s a comic book! Images like this:

"Special Exits." (Joyce Farmer / Fantagraphics)

Special Exits by Joyce Farmer lets the reader experience the real, emotional, private and quiet experience that is caregiving. It’s well worth reading.

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