FE: A Traumatized Son’s Graphic Memoir by Bren Bataclan
(Philippine American Writers and Artists Inc. 2020)
Bren Bataclan is a Boston-based artist who teaches computer graphics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has given away over 3,000 paintings in all 50 states in the U.S. and some 80 countries worldwide. I was drawn to his book, FE, for the author’s artistic illustrations, and I stayed for the beautiful story. This joyful, poignant graphic memoir renewed my understanding that no matter what happens in life, your mother is the only mother you’ve got.
With his light-hearted, whimsical drawings, author Bren Bataclan narrates how life took a reverse turn when he and his siblings took care of their mother Fe. Here is a sample page (click to enlarge):
The author’s sketches with thoughtful, often witty captions make for easy reading. But don’t let that mislead you. This is a well-written narrative of how adult children cope with the anguish and anxieties of caring for elderly parents. With Filipino wisdom, traditions, and values sprinkled all around, this memoir illustrates the author’s unique point of view about family and love that endures.