Good Friend, Cancer
The real story of how the author nursed her mother through her battle with breast cancer
Filled with dark humor that stabs you in the heart
Depicting a compelling mother-and-daughter relationship and the pursuit of self-worth
The story evoked a strong sense of emotional resonance among readers while it was published in installments on the internet.
In February 2019, Pam Pam began publishing installments of Good Friend, Cancer on her Facebook fan page, depicting in single panels what happened after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis not only revealed her mother’s health problem, but also threw the family into turmoil. As her daughter, Pam Pam naturally took up the responsibility to nurse her mother. However, what lies behind this development, which seems perfectly normal in Chinese culture, is a much deeper anxiety.
“Why is it always me?” “Why was my mother so pleased that my brother came to flush her blood tubing just once?” In her comic, Pam Pam is portrayed as a child who wraps herself in a blanket and is ready to cry her eyes out in it. While taking care of her mother in the hospital, Pam Pam re-examined her family relationship. Despite being anxious, upset, sad and discontent, she discovers that both she and her mother share the same responsibility – the traditional responsibility of a daughter.
Pam Pam’s comic style is simple and unadorned, but her story is realistic and genuine, with moments that make people laugh and more that brutally points out the unbearable events in life. Relationships are difficult: mother and daughter, sister and brother, mother and son, and husband and wife. Initially, the readers laugh while reading it; eventually, they cry with the characters.
- Slowork Publishing, founded in 2013 and based in Taiwan, produces documentary comics set in countries across the Asian world. Slowork comics make Asia come alive for the reader through biography, autobiography, memoirs, anecdotes, reportage, vignettes from everyday life, and first-hand personal accounts.
The project aspires to forge a unique form of documentary unlike that of either film or literature, treating topics thus far less often addressed in Asia, as seen through the eyes of talented writers.