More advance praise for Tangles

The story has a definite place in the literature available to persons who have to deal with this terrible tragedy. The format (a graphic novel) is fresh and will appeal to the younger generation who are just beginning to come to grips with this crisis. Sarah describes very clearly many of the various problems that occur with each stage of the illness. She is very honest about her reactions and feelings as well as her attempts to cope with them. There are many lessons for others to learn but the biggest lesson is that it is OK to have reactions, feelings and frustrations that are not always “correct” as one watches a loved-one’s progress. I think that the graphic novel tells the story in a more vivid and personal way than most books could possibly do… I know from my years of experience that the novel WILL be very helpful to others dealing with Alzheimer’s. — E. Prather Palmer, MD, former Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Clinic, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts

The art of the modern cartoonist is to tell a complex, literary story with deceptive simplicity. In her short graphic novel, Sarah Leavitt brings us the unsparing narrative of her mother’s decline and death from early-onset Alzheimer’s, at a shockingly young age, in words and drawings that put me in mind of Roz Chast. In a book that you can read in less than an hour, Leavitt’s skill, economy of line and efficiency of vocabulary give you plot and interwoven characters, humor, pathos, comedy and tragedy enough for 500 pages of prose. — Eleanor Cooney, author of Death in Slow Motion

Tangles rings completely true to me. I had flashes of recognition on every page and read it right through in one sitting… I feel this is a really important book. I can’t get it out of my head, now. It does so much to educate, but it’s tender… This is a book I would buy — and multiple copies! I’ve read other books on the same topic (no graphics, though) usually written by spouses of, but none by the younger children of. The way things are going, we should ALL own a copy. — Rosalind Penfold, author of Dragonslippers

Sarah Leavitt vividly depicts the changes and losses associated with dementia and the challenges this poses for family members.  At the same time, the person with dementia – in this case, the author’s mother – is never lost or forgotten; her life history is referenced throughout the novel, as her spouse, siblings and adult children witness changes in her behaviour and adapt to their new roles as care partners. Leavitt tackles difficult issues like faecal incontinence, lack of recognition of loved ones, and intimate personal care with honesty and sensitivity. In an accessible and entertaining way, she introduces us to her mother as a person and shows us a life marked by Alzheimer’s disease, but certainly not reduced to it.  As Leavitt bears witness to her mother’s progression from awareness of symptoms through the loss of ability to care for herself to dying shortly after moving to a nursing home, we learn along with her how to relate to and care for a person with dementia. In addition to persons with dementia and their care partners, this graphic novel certainly would be of interest to educators – both those teaching undergraduate students in health and social science disciplines and those raising public awareness about dementia.  — Dr. Wendy Hulko, Assistant Professor of Social Work & Coordinator of the Aging & Health Research Centre, Thompson Rivers University; Qualified Health Researcher, Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, UBC

Sarah Leavitt’s graphic novel is an intricate expression of a daughter’s love and loss of her mother, bit by bit, episode by episode. Uncompromising and powerful, I couldn’t put it down until I’d read it from beginning to end. Sarah has told the story of her mother’s relentless slide with a powerful emotional honesty. As an artist, I could feel myself with Sarah, and imagined her storing the images in her mind as the events unfolded. When down on paper, her beautiful detailed drawings captured perfectly the joy, frustration, sense of loss, humour and poignancy of dealing with Alzheimer’s. As a person with a mother in the early stages of the disease, I welcome this book, as compelling, instructive, and yet enormously comforting too. — Lesley Fairfield, author of Tyranny

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