In the graphic novel “Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me," Sarah Leavitt chronicles her mother’s life as she struggles with Alzheimer’s. The witty and darkly humorous novel explores Leavitt’s changing relationship with her family, her mother and mostly herself throughout the progression of the illness.
The etched black and white drawings help to illustrate Leavitt’s mother, Midge, and her struggle with the debilitating disease. Leavitt details the beginning stages: Forgetfulness, losing the sense of smell, headaches and being unable to accomplish simple tasks. Once her mother is formally diagnosed, at age 54, the novel plunges into the daily life of living with a person who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Leavitt’s stark drawings illustrate how her family must constantly care for her mother — a harsh reality that is true for so many suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. She interjects the drawings with quotes from Midge, which help to show the disease from the inside, rather than from the outside in.
Midge says to Leavitt, “I’m not a real person anymore," and, “I just can’t tell what is and isn’t." Eventually she stops speaking altogether, before passing away at 60, just six years after her diagnosis.
The book is available online at Amazon.com (Skyhorse Publishing, $14.95) and a Kindle version also is available.