Special Exits

Overview

Joyce Farmer?s memoir chronicles the decline of the author?s parents? health,
their relationship with one another and with their their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives.

Elderly parents Lara and Rachel, who have enjoyed a long and loving married life together, are rendered in fine, confident pen lines. Set in southern Los Angeles (which ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $12.36   
  • New (2) from $45.03   
  • Used (5) from $12.36   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$45.03
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(2317)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
160699381X This item is brand new. Please allow 4 - 14 business days for Standard shipping, within the US. Thank you for supporting our small, family-owned business!

Ships from: ACWORTH, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$105.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(147)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Joyce Farmer’s memoir chronicles the decline of the author’s parents’ health,
their relationship with one another and with their their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives.

Elderly parents Lara and Rachel, who have enjoyed a long and loving married life together, are rendered in fine, confident pen lines. Set in southern Los Angeles (which makes for a terrifying sequence as blind Rachel and ailing Lars are trapped in their home without power during the 1992 Rodney King riots),
backgrounds and props are lovingly detailed: these objects serve as memory triggers for Lars and Rachel, even as they eventually overwhelm them and their home, which the couple is loathe to leave. Special Exits is laid out in an eight-panel grid, which creates a leisurely storytelling pace that not only helps to convey the slow, inexorable decline in Lars’
and Rachel’s health, but perfectly captures the timbre of the exchanges between a long-married couple: the affectionate bickering; their gallows humor; their querulousness as their bodies break down.

Though Lars and Rachel are the protagonists of Special Exits, Farmer makes her voice known through creative visual metaphors and in her indictment of the careless treatment of the elderly in nursing homes. Special Exits gracefully deals with the hard reality of caring for aging loved ones: those who are or who have been in similar situations might find comfort in it, and those who haven’t will find much to admire in the bravery and good humor of Lars and Rachel.
Joyce Farmer, best known for co-creating the Tits ’n Clits comics anthology in the 1970s, a feminist response to the rampant misogyny in underground comix, spent 11 years crafting Special Exits, a graphic memoir in the vein of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, and Frank Stack’s Our Cancer Year, about caring for her dying father and stepmother.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Underground feminist comic artist Farmer’s account of how she looked after her aging parents is a quiet wonder. Lars and Rachel are long retired and don’t venture out much from their South Los Angeles home except to go to the grocery store. Lars reads the paper, and both eagerly look forward to visits from their daughter (named Laura but presumably Farmer’s stand-in) as much as they don’t want to trouble her. Over the course of years that cascade through Farmer’s closely detailed story, Lars and Rachel slowly become needier, but do their best to hide their decrepitude from Laura. As the years pass (the 1992 Rodney King riots threaten to make their existence even more perilous), Laura teases out small facts about her parents that she’d never known--the bags of uranium ore that Lars, an engineer, keeps in the garage, Rachel’s desperately poor Missouri childhood. Farmer renders everything in busy, densely packed black-and-white frames whose cluttered look mimics the dusty house, its surfaces thick with cat hair and memories. The story is stunning for its antisentimental realism, as well as for the glimpses of fantasy (Lars’s hallucination of Hades’ ferryman, Charon, rowing by in the hallway) that flicker by like ghosts. (Sept.)
ForeWord Reviews
Yes, [Special Exits] is a heartbreaking — even harrowing — tale, one made all the more moving and immediate by the creator’s nuanced gift for capturing the essence of her parents on the page. But it’s also a tale told with consummate skill, filled with mordant humor and real compassion, an almost embarrassing amount of candor, and a deep abiding love and respect for its subjects. [...] Ultimately, it’s these simple and true moments of mundane magic which marks Special Exits as more than just one of the best books released this year. It is, without a doubt, also one of the most significant contributions to the comics medium this side of the millennium, a modern masterpiece which celebrates the human condition.— Bill Baker
The Washington Post
Does this make Special Exits seem like a downer? Good. It is a downer.
It's also funny and touching, and gratifyingly cleareyed about the messy emotions involved in caring for aging parents. [...] And thanks to the thoughtful writing and art of Joyce Farmer, [her parents'] lives and deaths will be a comfort to readers beginning to consider the end of their parents' lives — or their own.— Dan Kois
Comic Book Resources
The book is both funny and heartbreaking, sometimes on the same page, dealing with the quiet hopeful moments and the nerve-wracking agony that come from a situation that is all too common and spoken of far too little.— Alex Dueben
Entertainment Weekly
...Special Exits avoids cheap pity and piousness by doing what any good art should: focusing on specifics — the ways in which Farmer’s parents slide into old age and ill health; the care they require and receive. That this is also a portrait of a strong marriage is an added benefit. Frank, never shying away from the awkward indignities of aging, Special Exits illuminates two lives, as well as that of the author’s.— Ken Tucker
Graphic Novel Reporter
...[W]ith Special Exits, Farmer delivers a wonderful memoir about her aging parents and their aging process. [...] This story will resonate and it will haunt you. But it will also impress you. Farmer doesn’t pull punches, but she doesn’t go for self-pity either. Special Exits is a loving tribute to life’s final moments, and the love that is left behind after we leave.— John Hogan
The Unshelved Book Club
Every step along the way is documented thoroughly and honestly, effectively killing any romantic notions I still had about my final years.... Reading this was like watching an incredibly slow train wreck, where you got to know everyone on board before it crashed...— Dawn Rutherford
Glen Weldon - NPR
“I finally read Special Exits last weekend. And I am here to tell you: It was tough. It was not fun. But it was truthful. It was specific. And it ... helped. In this, it was utterly unlike the book on grieving that a well-meaning relative pressed into my hands.... Special Exits... is all about specificity... It's bracingly clear-eyed and unsentimental...”
Nick Smith - ICv2
“The subject matter isn’t pretty. Still, [Special Exits] is intriguing, well-written and thought-provoking.”
Sam Humphries - Seen
“Sure, Special Exits is sad. But it’s also funny, touching, thought-provoking, and life-affirming. It’s never trite, cheap, or hokey, like, say, Patch Adams. This is the raw, unvarnished truth about the end of life, elegantly put to page by Farmer’s lyrical drawings, a welcome, thoughtful evolution of the raucous underground style of the 60s and 70s. Most of all, Special Exits is powerful. It’s vital; almost essential. [...] It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s one that everyone can benefit from reading. Your future self will thank you.”
Niki Papadopoulos - Bitch
“Special Exits is a quiet triumph, a celebration of the unseen acts of love, protection, duty and well-meaning deception among families. [...] Anyone with an aging parent or grandparent will surely relate to Special Exits, and appreciate the heartrending honesty with which Farmer weaves this sad, sweet, and beautifully drawn tale.”
Hillary Brown - Paste
“...[T]he impressive thing about [Special Exits] is that, despite depressing subject matter, it’s extremely readable and fairly funny. Yes, you’ll think about the horrors of getting old and failing to maintain your independence, not to mention the even scarier prospect of taking care of your own parents. But if Farmer’s book is meant to soothe your fears, it kind of works.”
Allan Halsey - Bizarre
“…[W]ith its leisurely pace, confident art style and deeply touching story, this memoir will tug at your heartstrings…”
Ray Olson - Booklist
“(Starred Review) Emotional and physical crises are depicted naturalistically, never hyped up to tug the heartstrings or extort pity, and the parents’ personalities are convincingly and lovingly evoked. The end-of-life literature is vast and mostly practical and advisory. Though not without value as counsel, Farmer’s contribution is primarily a work of art, moving and beautiful.”
R. Crumb
“One of the best long-narrative comics I’ve ever read, right up there with Gen of Hiroshima and Maus. It had a powerful effect on me... towards the end I actually found myself moved to tears.”
John Seven - Archive 7
“This is something that if we have not faced yet, we know we will, and Farmer’s ability to capture it all is clear-eyed. It’s a remarkable achievement considering the situation, and Farmer has a way of uniting the readership in one collective deep breathing session that lets us know we are not alone in the wider scope of coping with loss. ...Special Exits exists as a graphic novel of considerable depth and meaning.”
Michael C. Lorah - Newsarama
“Special Exits stands out at one of 2010’s best comic books, a fitting tribute to Joyce Farmer’s parents that tackles, head on, the heartbreaking inevitable process of losing one's parents. The result is one of the most human and most affecting comics of recent memory...”
Win Wiacek - Now Read This!
“Written with impressive empathy and obviously heartfelt, angry frustration even years later, this memoir confronts issues that will affect every single one of us whether or not we have the guts to face it, and the light airy art and terrific supporting cast — especially Ching the cat — keeps the tone hopeful and ultimately upbeat even through the worst of all times. This is a book you must read.”
Bill Baker - ForeWord Reviews
“Yes, [Special Exits] is a heartbreaking — even harrowing — tale, one made all the more moving and immediate by the creator’s nuanced gift for capturing the essence of her parents on the page. But it’s also a tale told with consummate skill, filled with mordant humor and real compassion, an almost embarrassing amount of candor, and a deep abiding love and respect for its subjects. [...] Ultimately, it’s these simple and true moments of mundane magic which marks Special Exits as more than just one of the best books released this year. It is, without a doubt, also one of the most significant contributions to the comics medium this side of the millennium, a modern masterpiece which celebrates the human condition.”
Deborah Vankin - Los Angeles Times
“Joyce Farmer... recently has emerged as one of the most provocative voices in the comics and graphic-literature landscape. Her debut book, the 208-page illustrated memoir Special Exits, chronicling the slow, freaky decline and ultimate death of her elderly parents, ...is an almost uncomfortably honest memoir that’s dense with details. It’s also layered with meaning and sub-themes.”
Kathleen Vanesian - Phoenix New Times
“[Special Exits] was fueled by Farmer's personal outrage at the unacceptable treatment of her elderly parents at the hands of medical and nursing home establishments. And she'll pooh-pooh the idea that making the book was psychological therapy of any sort. 'It was in no way cathartic. It was really, really depressing,' she told me any number of times. This is classic Joyce Farmer, drawing, writing, and satirizing taboo and socially risky subjects.”
Paul Karasik (Eisner Award-winning cartoonist) - The Comics Journal
“In Joyce Farmer’s powerful Special Exits the people are more people-like than I have encountered in comics in a long time.... It is moving without being sentimental. Real without being pedantic; a solid graphic novel that reads, well, like a novel!... Special Exits is one of the most engrossingly human comics and, ultimately, one of the most moving... Joyce Famer has brilliantly conveyed what it is to be human. To live, to die. To ripe, to rot. And thereby hangs her tale”
Andrew Fuerste-Henry - No Flying No Tights
“Farmer’s black and white line drawings are detailed and expressive, but never flashy. Her art is straightforward, as befits the story.... The end product is as honest and unembellished as a personal journal and we’re lucky Farmer’s chosen to share it with us.”
Dan Kois - The Washington Post
“Does this make Special Exits seem like a downer? Good. It is a downer. It's also funny and touching, and gratifyingly cleareyed about the messy emotions involved in caring for aging parents. [...] And thanks to the thoughtful writing and art of Joyce Farmer, [her parents'] lives and deaths will be a comfort to readers beginning to consider the end of their parents' lives — or their own.”
Sean T. Collins - Comic Book Resources
“This is a magnum opus no one expected to read, a brutally frank depiction of what it's like for full lives you love to end, and it has the most painfully happy ending of the year. It made me cry. Don't do what I almost did and ignore one of the year's most moving comics.”
Alex Dueben - Comic Book Resources
“The book is both funny and heartbreaking, sometimes on the same page, dealing with the quiet hopeful moments and the nerve-wracking agony that come from a situation that is all too common and spoken of far too little.”
Ken Tucker - Entertainment Weekly
“...Special Exits avoids cheap pity and piousness by doing what any good art should: focusing on specifics — the ways in which Farmer’s parents slide into old age and ill health; the care they require and receive. That this is also a portrait of a strong marriage is an added benefit. Frank, never shying away from the awkward indignities of aging, Special Exits illuminates two lives, as well as that of the author’s.”
John Hogan - Graphic Novel Reporter
“...[W]ith Special Exits, Farmer delivers a wonderful memoir about her aging parents and their aging process. [...] This story will resonate and it will haunt you. But it will also impress you. Farmer doesn’t pull punches, but she doesn’t go for self-pity either. Special Exits is a loving tribute to life’s final moments, and the love that is left behind after we leave.”
Dawn Rutherford - The Unshelved Book Club
“Every step along the way is documented thoroughly and honestly, effectively killing any romantic notions I still had about my final years.... Reading this was like watching an incredibly slow train wreck, where you got to know everyone on board before it crashed...”
Douglas Wolk - The New York Times Book Review
“Forceful, unsparing…[Farmer] renders her wobbly, minutely textured characters with wit and tough affection.”
ICv2
The subject matter isn’t pretty. Still, [Special Exits] is intriguing, well-written and thought-provoking.— Nick Smith
Bitch
Special Exits is a quiet triumph, a celebration of the unseen acts of love, protection, duty and well-meaning deception among families. [...] Anyone with an aging parent or grandparent will surely relate to Special Exits, and appreciate the heartrending honesty with which Farmer weaves this sad, sweet, and beautifully drawn tale.— Niki Papadopoulos
Paste
...[T]he impressive thing about [Special Exits] is that, despite depressing subject matter, it’s extremely readable and fairly funny. Yes, you’ll think about the horrors of getting old and failing to maintain your independence, not to mention the even scarier prospect of taking care of your own parents. But if Farmer’s book is meant to soothe your fears, it kind of works.— Hillary Brown
Bizarre
…[W]ith its leisurely pace, confident art style and deeply touching story, this memoir will tug at your heartstrings…— Allan Halsey
Booklist
(Starred Review) Emotional and physical crises are depicted naturalistically, never hyped up to tug the heartstrings or extort pity, and the parents’
personalities are convincingly and lovingly evoked. The end-of-life literature is vast and mostly practical and advisory. Though not without value as counsel, Farmer’s contribution is primarily a work of art,
moving and beautiful.— Ray Olson
Archive 7
This is something that if we have not faced yet, we know we will, and Farmer’s ability to capture it all is clear-eyed. It’s a remarkable achievement considering the situation, and Farmer has a way of uniting the readership in one collective deep breathing session that lets us know we are not alone in the wider scope of coping with loss. ...Special Exits exists as a graphic novel of considerable depth and meaning.— John Seven
Newsarama
Special Exits stands out at one of 2010’s best comic books, a fitting tribute to Joyce Farmer’s parents that tackles, head on, the heartbreaking inevitable process of losing one's parents. The result is one of the most human and most affecting comics of recent memory...— Michael C. Lorah
The A.V. Club
“...Joyce Farmer’s Special Exits depicts old age as a wild, lurching ride from medical crises to euphoric nostalgia to an eerie calm as the end draws near. [...] Aging and dying are rare topics in literature and cinema, let alone in comics, which makes Special Exits an automatic standout. But it would be an excellent book even if the shelves were full of fictionalized memoirs about elder care.”
Now Read This!
Written with impressive empathy and obviously heartfelt, angry frustration even years later, this memoir confronts issues that will affect every single one of us whether or not we have the guts to face it, and the light airy art and terrific supporting cast — especially Ching the cat — keeps the tone hopeful and ultimately upbeat even through the worst of all times. This is a book you must read.— Win Wiacek
Los Angeles Times
Joyce Farmer... recently has emerged as one of the most provocative voices in the comics and graphic-literature landscape. Her debut book, the 208-page illustrated memoir Special Exits, chronicling the slow, freaky decline and ultimate death of her elderly parents, ...is an almost uncomfortably honest memoir that’s dense with details. It’s also layered with meaning and sub-themes.— Deborah Vankin
Phoenix New Times
[Special Exits] was fueled by Farmer's personal outrage at the unacceptable treatment of her elderly parents at the hands of medical and nursing home establishments. And she'll pooh-pooh the idea that making the book was psychological therapy of any sort. 'It was in no way cathartic. It was really, really depressing,' she told me any number of times. This is classic Joyce Farmer, drawing, writing, and satirizing taboo and socially risky subjects.— Kathleen Vanesian
The Comics Journal
In Joyce Farmer’s powerful Special Exits the people are more people-like than I have encountered in comics in a long time.... It is moving without being sentimental. Real without being pedantic; a solid graphic novel that reads, well, like a novel!... Special Exits is one of the most engrossingly human comics and, ultimately, one of the most moving... Joyce Famer has brilliantly conveyed what it is to be human. To live, to die. To ripe,
to rot. And thereby hangs her tale
No Flying No Tights
Farmer’s black and white line drawings are detailed and expressive, but never flashy. Her art is straightforward, as befits the story.... The end product is as honest and unembellished as a personal journal and we’re lucky Farmer’s chosen to share it with us.
The New York Times Book Review
Forceful, unsparing…[Farmer] renders her wobbly, minutely textured characters with wit and tough affection.— Douglas Wolk
NPR
I finally read Special Exits last weekend. And I am here to tell you: It was tough. It was not fun. But it was truthful. It was specific. And it ... helped. In this, it was utterly unlike the book on grieving that a well-meaning relative pressed into my hands.... Special Exits... is all about specificity... It's bracingly clear-eyed and unsentimental...— Glen Weldon
Seen
Sure, Special Exits is sad. But it’s also funny, touching, thought-provoking, and life-affirming. It’s never trite, cheap, or hokey, like, say, Patch Adams. This is the raw, unvarnished truth about the end of life, elegantly put to page by Farmer’s lyrical drawings, a welcome, thoughtful evolution of the raucous underground style of the 60s and 70s. Most of all, Special Exits is powerful. It’s vital; almost essential. [...] It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s one that everyone can benefit from reading. Your future self will thank you.— Sam Humphries
Library Journal
Often, the end of life comes not out of the blue but via a gradual and bumpy ride down a rutted slope, with so many switchbacks you can't see what's coming. And so the elderly Lars and Rachel, as observed and aided by daughter Laura (apparently a lightly fictionalized Joyce), stumble toward the Exit. Neither heroes nor villains, all three appear well intentioned but careless and naïve. Yet while their story is poignant, the characters also find moments of joy in flashes of new intimacy, favorite memories, and fresh insights. More a biography of Lars and Rachel than of Farmer herself, this account does not interpret so much as record unflinchingly and gracefully a distinctly ungraceful and universal process rarely faced by most of us until necessary. With realistic black-and-white art functioning like a TV camera, it will educate the still-naïve and offer recognition to those familiar with the path already. VERDICT Farmer's work deserves a place among the classic graphic narratives about illness, and it is highly recommended for general collections in all public and academic libraries.—M.C.
Douglas Wolk
forceful, unsparing and …concerned, in its way, with saying the unsayable—[Farmer] renders her wobbly, minutely textured characters with wit and tough affection, and her habit of looking for the darkly funny side of everything keeps the book from getting too bleak.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606993811
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 12/6/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Farmer lives in Laguna Beach, CA.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)