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Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me
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Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,355 ratings  ·  223 reviews
What do you do when your outspoken, passionate, and quick-witted mother starts fading into a forgetful, fearful woman? In this powerful graphic memoir, Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer's disease transformed her mother Midge--and her family--forever. ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Freehand Books
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  1,355 ratings  ·  223 reviews

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Greta G
Sarah's mom started showing symptoms of Alzheimer's when she was only 52.
Something was wrong. She'd get confused about the strangest things, but if someone tried to help her or asked her what was wrong, she got mad.
She stayed in the background, all quiet. She couldn't remember how to get anywhere. She forgot things. She seemed to be just sad or angry all the time. But she told everyone everything was fine.
Maybe she was depressed. Maybe it was menopause or a midlife crisis.
But more things kep
Dave Schaafsma
Tangles is a fiercely personal and beautiful and of course sad graphic memoir focused on the author's relationship with her mother and the journey she and their family take after her mother, Midge, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. This is Leavitt's first book, and it deals with Midge and her sister, Midge's two daughters, and her husband. It is, as you might expect, two parts heart-wrenching, with a little dash of humor and a few cups of rage and several parts fascinating as Le ...more
I'm going to feel bad about giving this two stars because this is someone's painful story they are sharing with you. Unfortunately, I really started to resent how long this book felt. Each page consisted of so many panels and I wasn't feeling anything as it went on when I should have. How could I not care about the author and her family as they dealt with their mom having Alzheimer's? It should have worked but I couldn't quite put my finger on why I wasn't feeling any emotions toward this story. ...more
Dov Zeller
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love this book! I tend to be drawn toward the form of the graphic memoir, and this was not what I was expecting, but I appreciated the emotional honesty, humor and clear-eyed presence with devastating loss. There is something very simple about the book. Here is a writer who wants to hold onto time as her mother declines, knows that soon her mother will be gone, and the only way she can think to hold onto this 'time', these moments with her mother, is to keep a journal of their daily life.

The b
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: Dov

I read this intense graphic memoir for the first time only a week after I had heard about it from a Goodreads friend (thanks, Dov). Then I reread it a few days later. But I couldn’t bring myself to write about it then. True, I’m always a dozen or so reviews behind, but I had thought this book would be easy to review. I knew how I felt about it (I loved it); I knew what I wanted to say (see review below). As it turned out, I’m thinking I waited these three and a half months because the wait g
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sitting down to read the first pages, I'm forcing myself to go more slowly, to absorb the wonderful details and deeply moving story. So far I've found myself re-reading certain pages because I'm just so moved by them, and so fascinated... very excited to add more comments after I'm done savouring this wonderful work.

After finishing the book:

One might assume that a book about a family's journey through Alzheimer's would be one sad story and nothing more. In the case of Tangles, they would be very
Barbara McEwen
Pure emotion in book form. You see the love, the good, bad, and ugly in everyone. It is very real and touching.
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The last graphic memoirs I read were Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, making my expectations for this work unusually high.

For one, I was disappointed upon opening the book to see that the art is simplistic at best. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised that despite their lack of depth, they still contributed to the meaning and sentiment of the book a great deal.

In this story daughter Sarah recounts her mother’s slow ascent into Alzheimer’s disease. I picked up this book because I wa
Elizabeth A
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, graphix
Ever since reading Still Alice, I've been fascinated by early onset Alzheimer's, and I really liked this graphic novel. The art is not why you would read this book - very simple black and white sketches, but the honesty and pain shines through. This memoir is told in short story/vignettes form, and sheds light on the effects of this disease on the patient and their family. Well worth the read. ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
A loving, touching story of a family that bonded as one, that grew & expanded and that came together to care for a special member in a time of need.
This family loved this lady for all she was, for the wonder that was her.

Thank you for telling this story of watching a loss and learning to stand strong & cope & always to love.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This really hit home for me. With a bare drawing style, Leavitt really paints a beautiful picture of the journey through this disease. Some stages I recognized. Others I have packed away for the time I will experience it. I have already been treasuring the time I have with my mom, and I am relieved that we have already been freed of the caregiving aspects, but I know emotional journey all too well already. I cry for what is ahead. Hopefully not for a while.
This is one of those graphic novels that transcends its art. At first glance, the art looks unimpressive, to say the least. But Leavitt quickly sucks you into the story. She focuses on her mother's struggle with Alzheimer's, yes, but we also get to peek in on Leavitt's own personal journey, relationships with her sisters, romantic life, and vacations.

I ate it up in less than a day (granted, I was on a reading vacation), and quickly warmed to the amateurish art. In some ways, the very basic figu
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: can-lit
Absolutely heartbreaking, this book surprised me in the best of ways. I didn't expect to cry so much while reading a "graphic memoir," nor did I expect to laugh so much while reading about Alzheimer's. This is a beautiful representation of Leavitt's life and family, and it's made me think about my relationships with my mother and grandmother in new ways. I really feel like this should be a must-read. ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous graphic novel about the journey through alzheimer's that the author makes with her mother. Sparsely told and illustrated. Powerful. ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can't imagine how this could be better - and by "better" I mean more devastating, sincere, and soul-baring. I loved Leavitt's seemingly simple, but lovingly rendered and evocative, illustrations. The expressions and particularly the clasped hands of Leavitt's mother were haunting and crushing - what an emblem for her Alzheimer's. I couldn't believe how short the book was, but how Leavitt was able to present so much detail of everything from the mundane aspects of care to the grand attempts to ...more
A memoir of Alzheimer's impacting a brilliant, relatively young woman, Midge, from the point of view of her daughter, Sarah Leavitt. We learn how Midge was witty, alive, full of energy and vibrant liberal, and little by little the disease took everything from her, until the day she was barely recognizable and eventually dead.

Despite the strong topic, the book didn't make me feel much, maybe because I didn't like the author; sometimes I felt she was more interested in her story than in her mom (
Maribeth Balda-westlund
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! Thanks Sarah Leavitt for your willingness to share your relationships with your family members as you work together to take care of your Mother as she has Alzheimer's disease. I laughed and cried as you navigated through the loss of your mother due to the disease and later with death. It was eye-opening to read about your experiences. I hope you found creating this memoir to be healing and cathartic. You were a kind and loving daughter. I recommend Tangles if you haven't read it yet. ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I found myself crying many times reading this book. Sarah Leavitt does a great job at portraying the sadness and loss of someone with Alzheimer's. I kept imagining me and my mom going through this, and it scared me and made me sad. The loneliness echoes greatly through the pages and I can't imagine what it must be and feel like, for those with the disease, and those who surround them, witnessing the vanishing of a loved one. ...more
Debbie  Frizzell
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'd like to think I won't ever have to go acknowledge Alzheimer's in my lifetime, but it truly helps to read about the lives of those affected by this horrible disease. Thank you Sarah for sharing your life with us. It does make a difference. ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
An almost unbearably sad graphic memoir about the artist's mother's early onset Alzheimer's. Very compassionate and honest. ...more
Sandy Plants
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Powerful and heartbreaking.
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was so sad, it made me cry...
Joelle Paulson
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was difficult for me, as I've had three grandparents who suffered from Alzheimer's. It was beautifully-written (and illustrated) and heart-wrenching. ...more
Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was really lovely.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Neither the graphic format, nor the subject matter of Alzheimer's Disease are very familiar to me but this did not matter. I found the book much more accessible than any other graphic novel/memoir I have tried and there was so much I found within it's pages that I could relate to. I found the uncluttered style of drawing helped me to dive right in where I have hesitated with others in this format.

The story is of course so sad and very movingly told indeed, but al
Mark Victor Young
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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, albei ...more
Ardea Smith
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-log
Title / Author / Publication Date: Leavitt, S. (2012). Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me. New York: Skyhorse Publishing Books.

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Format: Paperback

Plot summary: Although this book is written for an older audience than 10-12 year olds, it’s a unique book in the small world of literature on Alzheimer’s and one that should be included in any catalog. For those individuals who are reluctant readers or more visual learners Tangles is the perfect book because
Laurel L. Perez
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to just get real with this review, when I picked it up to read it the other day, I thought about it compared to other graphic memoirs I have read as of late. In that context, the art seemed minimal, and perhaps the text too much. I quickly read through the first third of this book without feeling a lot. I wasn't even sure I would give it more than three stars when I was half way through. Here's the crux, it got so hard to read, so uncomfortable, as in this book gave me the discomfort o ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank you Sarah for writing about your experience with your mother and her journey through her mother's battle with Alzheimer's. Reading this was an incredibly liberating experience as a daughter with a mother with Alzheimers. A loved one goes through such a range of emotions, and any emotion that is not considered kind and loving is associated with a tremendous amount of guilt. Sarah's story normalized these experiences for me, and also gave me a glimpse into what to expect as the disease progr ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, graphic-novels
This is a sparse and emotionally-packed graphic novel memoir. Sarah Leavitt's mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and it changes their family forever. It's a harrowing read.

I did not especially enjoy this book. The subject matter is a little too close to home for me right now. The book reads like a graphic novel by someone who's not really an artist - which is fine, but maybe the line drawings distracted me a bit from the poignancy and emotional duress of the narrative. I really liked
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Sarah Leavitt is the author of the graphic memoir Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (2010), and the historical graphic novel Agnes, Murderess (2019).

Tangles was published in Canada, the US, UK, Germany, France, and Korea. It was the first comic to be a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, was a Globe and Mail best book of the year, and is currently in development

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