Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me” as Want to Read:
Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,138 ratings  ·  188 reviews
"In this powerful memoir ... Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer's disease transformed her mother, Midge, and her family forever. In spare black-and-white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family's journey through a harrowing range of emotions: shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published September 10th 2010 by Freehand Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tangles, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tangles

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,138 ratings  ·  188 reviews

Sort order
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
David 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
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
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
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.
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.
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 wan
Vivek Tejuja
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have often wondered while reading memoirs or something very personal: How do the authors manage to put all this down to paper? All the hurt, the anguish, the memory of it all, on paper for others to read. I do not know how they must feel to put it down – to go through those memories all over again, so they can tell it to the world. I am sure though it must not be easy to do that. This thought crossed my mind as I finished reading, “Tangles – A Story about Alzheimer’s, my mother and me” by Sara ...more
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.
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.
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
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
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 (
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.
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.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Powerful and heartbreaking.
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
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I heard Sarah Leavitt on CBC radio, talking about this graphic memoir about her mother's journey with Alzheimer's. Not one who tends towards the graphic books section of Chapters, I couldn't really imagine how Leavitt would be able to tell this story in both images and words. I needn't have hesitated. This book is truly amazing - Leavitt captures the poignancy, frustration, and deep sadness that accompanies the decline of her beloved mother as a result of this cruel disease. The images add immen ...more
Buried In Print
This review was deleted following Amazon's purchase of GoodReads.

The review can still be viewed via LibraryThing, where my profile can be found here.

I'm also in the process of building a database at Booklikes, where I can be found here.

If you read/liked/clicked through to see this review here on GR, many thanks.
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
In her graphic novel, Sarah Leavitt tackles the story of her mother's Alzheimer's. This is an honest and sad book that shares the debilitating nature of the disease. Leavitt shares the harsh realities, along with some funny memories. She is fully honest about what happens and is very brave to be able to share this story.

I think a lot of people could benefit from this book, which made me cry. Sad that I missed Sarah at Edmonton's Litfest this year.
Ashley Holstrom
The librarian said, “Oh, this looks beautiful” as she handed it over. I nodded, carried it home, and read it in one sitting. The tears waited until I closed the back cover. A graphic novel about a mother’s deterioration into the depths of Alzheimer’s ain’t a cozy book, my friends. But it’s a good, important, eye-opening one.

From The Books that Made Us Ugly-Sob at Book Riot.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a graphic novel that had a wonderful and sad story attached to it. The author tells the story of her mother, who was once a kind hearted, fun woman who got inflicted with Alzheimer's. The book can be a bit graphic at times, but it is always very real. I truly enjoyed both the illustrations as well as the story that I was taken on.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Good Eggs
  • Long Red Hair
  • Mom's Cancer
  • Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home
  • Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics
  • Special Exits
  • Lucky
  • Awkward and Definition: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag
  • I Love Led Zeppelin
  • The Story of My Tits
  • We Are On Our Own
  • Turning Japanese
  • The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir
  • Dar: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary, Volume One (Dar!, #1)
  • Lighter Than My Shadow
  • The Infinite Wait and Other Stories
  • The Customer is Always Wrong
  • A Matter of Life
Sarah Leavitt is a writer, cartoonist and editor from Vancouver, BC, Canada. In September 2010 she published her first book, a graphic memoir — Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (Canada: Freehand Books, September 2010; UK: Jonathan Cape, Nov 2011; US: Skyhorse, March 2012).

Tangles was a finalist for the 2010 Writers’ Trust of Canada Non-fiction Prize (first graphic narrative to