Laurel Book Store is thrilled to launch the latest book by Marissa Moss, a graphic memoir of loss and love for adults, Last Things. Please join us for this special event with the writer and illustrator herself! Marissa will be in conversation with Joel Drucker, author of the books Jimmy Conners Saved My Life, and Don't Bet On It, the account of losing his wife to Lupus.
Last Things is the true and intensely personal story of how one woman coped with the devastating effects of a catastrophic illness in her family.
Using her trademark mix of words and pictures to sharp effect, Marissa Moss presents the story of how she, her husband, and her three young sons struggled to maintain their sense of selves and wholeness as a family and how they continued on with everyday life when the earth shifted beneath their feet.
After returning home from a year abroad, Marissa’s husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed quickly, and Marissa was soon consumed with caring for Harvey while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her young children. ALS stole the man who was her husband, the father of her children, and her best friend in less than 7 months.
This is not a story about the redemptive power of a terminal illness. It is a story of resilience—of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow in spite of it. Although it’s a sad story, it’s powerfully told and ultimately uplifting as a guide to strength and perseverance, to staying connected to those who matter most in the midst of a bleak upheaval. If you’ve ever wondered how you would cope with a dire diagnosis, this book can provide a powerful example of what it feels like and how to come through the darkness into the light.
Marissa Moss has written more than seventy books, from picture books to middle-grade and young adult novels. Best known for the "Amelia's Notebook" series (over 5 million sold), her books are popular with teachers and children alike. Her picture book, Barbed Wire Baseball, won the California Book Award, Gold medal. Marissa is also the founder of Creston Books, an independent children's publishing house.
Over the course of his 35-year writing career, Oakland-based Joel Drucker’s work has appeared in a variety of media outlets. These include broadcast venues such as HBO, CBS, Tennis Channel, as well as dozens of print publications, ranging from Tin House, Huffington Post and Salon to the San Diego Reader, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Express, Cigar Aficionado, Forbes FYI and People. His primary topics have been sports, popular culture and business.
Don’t Bet On It is the tale of a 28-year love story – one delicately shadowed and eventually ended by the presence of death. Even more, this is the story of a slumber party, therapy session and private joke, all wrapped into one. It’s a portrait of intimacy, of a man and a woman who lived for the chance to connect, all the while aware of the potentially fatal effects of a deadly illness called lupus.
Joan Edwards and Joel Drucker met when they worked together in the summer of 1982 for Inside Tennis, a magazine based in Oakland, California. Joan was the art director. Joel was the managing editor. They’d met in May. Their romance commenced in August. In 2010, nearly 28 years to the day of their first kiss, Joan died.
The DNA that connected these two, formed even before they met: humor. As the book explains, the two met through humor, which even from the start, was twined with death. Don’t Bet On It draws on examples of the way humor worked as a way to escape, confront and connect – everything from a book of jokes Joan kept near at hand for nearly 50 years, to a heartfelt quip about Apollo 11, to a sardonic connection between Joan’s health and “The Godfather.” Even the very title, Don’t Bet On It, has its roots in a crack Joan made to Joel on his 29th birthday – a prophecy that indeed became true.