Top critical review
Very good, but not great
on June 18, 2014
I found this impossible to put down, and I did tear up a few times. The pictures help explain the words. BUT, unlike with other graphic memoirs they don't really add a huge amount. You could just read the words and get pretty much the same thing out of the book as you do with the drawings. I am not a huge consumer of graphic memoirs but the other memorable one I read was Fun Home and it blew me away- the pictures in that case were about a third to a half of the message. I'd read a page, and then scour the drawings for every detail, sometimes even laughing or feeling sad purely because of something the drawings had revealed. With Tangles I was done with the pictures as soon as I'd finished reading the words, with a couple minor exceptions. There's not any additional information in the art. The art is simple and straightforward.
I think the art enhances the story by making the reader pause and reflect in a way they wouldn't if it was text-only. The drawings help express mood. It's definitely better WITH the drawings, and they're good drawings.
I guess my point is that I can't help feeling there was the potential for the art to add a lot more to the story than it did, which is why I am giving only three stars.
I haven't been touched by dementia of any kind so I can't speak about what this book could offer a family just discovering their own beloved relative has Alzheimer's. I imagine it might be helpful but I really don't know. Could I say it opened my mind? Meh... I guess not. My mind didn't really need to be opened on this subject. I always thought such illnesses were the utmost in tragedy, and my heart went out to the real person behind the crumbling ruins, and the scared childlike person they'd become, and their suffering relatives and friends, losing them slowly a bit at a time. I didn't learn anything new from this book. Perhaps if you have a kid who thinks senility is funny, this could help them learn compassion. If you're already compassionate, I don't know if it will really blow your mind or anything. If you like sad stories, this is a touching tale. If you have issues with your parents, this might move you, and make you want to reach out to them and make the most of the time you have left. Maybe I just wasn't the target audience. I can only speak for myself, though, and to me it was a little disappointing... likely in part because I had bought it due to a stellar review and was really expecting to have my socks knocked off.
I sound a lot more negative than I meant to be. It really is a worthwhile read! I just want you to avoid my problem (of expecting too much and then being let down) and be aware of what you hope to get out of reading this.
At the very least, readers of this book are providing an ear for the author to express her pain and that has a lot of value. I really did feel like I was getting a peek inside her life.