Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me

Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me - Sarah Leavitt It’s not just a problem for the curly-headed folks: even with straight hair, there are tangles, knots, and snarls. Everybody can relate to the struggle to make a course smooth once more. And these days, increasingly large numbers of readers will also relate to the experience of losing a loved one to dementia. As a memoir, Tangles has the potential to reach a wide audience and I hope that its format -- I'd call it a graphic novel, but it's not a novel -- results in even more readers discovering this slim volume.

Even when Sarah Leavitt is drawing the curls that erupt from her head, the reader has the sense of every stroke, every tightly drawn curve, being deliberate and exact. And that’s as it should be; her mother, Midge, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1996, and the author kept notes and records for the duration of her illness, so this book has been in progress for many years. It’s no wonder that it is a polished document.

But that sense of purpose does not detract from the raw intimacy of the story. It’s so striking that there are times when you simply have to set it aside, to reflect. The reader can’t help but feel as though they have peered behind closed doors. Of course that is the nature of memoir, but this is an incredibly revealing tale: flinch-worthy at times.

This is a highly emotive story. If you think it will hurt less in a drawing, you’re mistaken. But that’s the wonder of Tangles too. If you think that you can’t be touched by a graphic "novel", this memoir would be the one to prove you wrong.

A more detailed review is available here if you're keen.