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4.0 out of 5 stars "Tangled, but with spots of brightness"
Tangles is equal parts celebration and lament, as much an anatomy of Alzheimer's as it is an intensely moving matremoir. Reading Tangles had me reliving many of the details of my mom's last years, and remembering the frustrations, the moments of fierce anger, the depressions, the sparks of humour, the exhaustion, and the closeness and caring which her slow regression and...
Published on March 6 2012 by Andre Gerard

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting way to present the story
Putting the story in cartoon form was definitely an interesting way to present the story. But I didn't like that method. I found it difficult to read.

And I'm really not clear as to how the reporting of the author's sexual activities advances the understanding of how the Alzheimer's Disease in her mother progressed.

The story of the disease's...
Published on July 15 2011 by J. Obee


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4.0 out of 5 stars "Tangled, but with spots of brightness", March 6 2012
By 
Andre Gerard (Vancouver, B.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me (Paperback)
Tangles is equal parts celebration and lament, as much an anatomy of Alzheimer's as it is an intensely moving matremoir. Reading Tangles had me reliving many of the details of my mom's last years, and remembering the frustrations, the moments of fierce anger, the depressions, the sparks of humour, the exhaustion, and the closeness and caring which her slow regression and death brought to our family.

Alzheimer's is a disease of diminishment and indignity, and part of Sarah Leavitt's triumph is that she doesn't shy away from showing the darker parts of the process. Nor does she hide the dark snakes of depression, fear, and pettiness which attack her and other family members. She also shows how the disease often makes small children of patient and caregivers, and the immediacy and cartoon quality of her graphic narrative medium work wonderfully to reach the child in us all. Her telling has a vulnerability and a visceral impact which written text alone could not achieve.

As a graphic memoir, and one in which recognition and acceptance of the author's lesbian identity play a part, Leavitts book will inevitably be compared to Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Midge Leavitt, though, was much more nurturing, much less conflicted than Bruce Bechdel; and consequently Tangles is much less dark than Fun Home. Both books pay tribute, but where Bechdel remembers her father to map herself Leavitt remembers her mother to grow and nurture. Unsurprisingly, both books can be seen as mirroring the respective parent described. Whereas the art and language of Fun Home is carefully crafted and highly polished, Tangles is rougher and looser in style, a garden, "tangled, but with spots of brightness."

Tangles also bears comparison to important Alzheimer's books such as John Bayley's Elegy for Iris, Lisa Genova's Still Alice, and Michael Ignatieff's Scar Tissue. Like these books, it is a good story well told. Like these books, it belongs in every library, not just in those of Alzheimer's afflicted families.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing series of vignettes, Nov. 14 2011
By 
Mark Young (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me (Paperback)
A very harrowing series of vignettes in the progress of a terrible disease. The other book I read about Alzheimer's, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, doesn't take us all the way to the end and the tragic wasting away and death of a human being, so that part of this book was really rough. Tangles is told from the point of view of a family member left behind, the afflicted's daughter. Still Alice is told in first person format from the afflicted's point of view and is a very different experience, albeit still a terrifying one.

The "graphic" component of this story was mildly effective, I thought. The art style doesn't blow me away, but Leavitt has a talent for expressing ideas and emotions in images that did augment the story. Her facility with cartoony faces and bodies is limited--I think she is a writer first and illustrator a somewhat distant second. It is still a work that I can't imagine as narrative only, so for that reason I consider it a successful graphic non-fiction work.

This is not an easy read or even much of a coherent narrative. It is a series of illustrated events, random notes and memories and a loving portrait of the author's mother, all of which tells a real story with moments of humour and lots of sadness. Bring Kleenex.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting way to present the story, July 15 2011
This review is from: Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me (Paperback)
Putting the story in cartoon form was definitely an interesting way to present the story. But I didn't like that method. I found it difficult to read.

And I'm really not clear as to how the reporting of the author's sexual activities advances the understanding of how the Alzheimer's Disease in her mother progressed.

The story of the disease's progression was quite fascinating.

But on the whole, I was disappointed.
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Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me
Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me by Sarah Leavitt (Paperback - Sept. 1 2010)
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