Autobiography · Graphic Novel · Health · Heather D · In the Library · Memoir · Non-Fiction

Tangles | by Sarah Leavitt

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

Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt
(Skyhorse, 2012, 127 pages)

When I first opened the book and saw the very simplistic drawings, I was afraid that I would be let down by this story. I decided to read it at a slow pace and really study the pictures. I was in awe of how much raw emotion could be shown in the simple black and white drawings.

I applaud Sarah Leavitt for having the courage to write something so incredibly personal. It had to be an incredible undertaking to be able to open up and tell her life’s story of those few short years after her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She did not live close to her parents and she goes into so much detail about how she handled the stress of staying in touch and the traveling back and forth. Each family member is clearly presented along with the relationships she has with her aunts, sister, dad, and especially her mother. It is very inspiring to see a family through the eyes of the daughter (who is going through some extremely tough situations); for them to know that it’s okay to be able to laugh, get angry, cry, but above all else, love unconditionally.

5/5 stars

Health · Heather D · In the Library · Non-Fiction · Self-Help

The Dementia Caregiver | by Marc E. Agronin

The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders by Marc E. Agronin
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 289 pages)

Agronin’s book is recommended for anyone who is looking for a reference guide in helping them to understand what a person with dementia or other neurocognitive disorders is going through. It is filled with resources that will help the caregiver to be better prepared for present and future care of not only the person suffering from brain disorders but also the caregiver themselves. I picked up this book in hopes that it would equip me with tools that would help me to find productive ways to care for my loved one while keeping their best interests in mind, and it did just that. It is filled with reassurance, understanding and compassion that can make anyone see that they are not alone on this difficult journey.

“Becoming a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another neurocognitive disorder can be an unexpected, undesirable, underappreciated–and yet noble role. It is heartbreaking to watch someone lose the very cognitive capacities that once helped to define them as a person. But because of the nature of these disorders, the only way to become an effective caregiver and cope with the role’s many daily challenges is to become well-informed about the disease. With the right information, resources and tips on caregiving and working with professionals, you can become your own expert at both caring for your charge and taking care of yourself.”

Food! · Health · Julia P · Memoir · Non-Fiction

All Gone | By Alex Witchell

All Gone

All Gone By: Alex Witchell
(Riverhead, 2012, 224 pages)

This is another Advanced Reader Copy I’m just getting around to. All Gone is a memoir about Witchell’s experiences accepting her mother’s advancing dementia. Witchell connects her memories with her mother to food she had growing up and she takes comfort in the stability that comes from revisiting classic recipes she associates with a time in her life when her mother was truly present. For that reason food (and recipes) play a significant role in the book.

All Gone revolves around what’s going on with her mother in the present day. Witchell is struggling to accept the changes going on with her mother and her memory – especially since it’s obvious that her mother understands something is wrong and can do nothing to fix it. This book looks at aging and changing family dynamics in a way that’s both accessible and heartbreaking. You appreciate the author’s attempts to connect with and remember her mother for the woman she was while reconciling herself to the fact that nothing can be done to stop her from traveling down the path she’s on.

Food! · Health · Julia P · Memoir · Non-Fiction · Quick Read!

Year of No Sugar | by Eve O. Schaub

Year of No Sugar

Year of No Sugar: A Memoir by Eve O. Schaub
(Sourcebooks, 2014, 303 pages)

It seemed like I was hearing about Year of No Sugar everywhere I went. After a pretty long wait on the library’s reserve list I finally got my hands on it. After watching a YouTube video of a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig Schaub makes the decision (with her family’s approval) to try and go a year without any added sugar. This is easier said than done because sugar is secretly hiding everywhere, from the bread you buy at the store to ketchup, mayonnaise, deli meat, and chicken stock. Plus, it’s listed in the ingredients as a number of different things so that can be anything from sugar or honey to high fructose corn syrup or fruit juice. To say this was a big decision is putting it lightly. And when you consider that Schaub has two young daughters (under the age of 11 when the experiment was going on) it impresses you that she got them to go along with things.

Essentially the premise is that sugar can logically be considered a poison. Your body doesn’t need fructose – it can’t really even process it so it has no nutritional value (this is not the same as glucose, which your body can work with). In layman’s terms Schaub explains the many negative impacts that sugar can have on your body and your overall health.

The year-long experiment got easier with time but it involved lots of research and lots of home cooking. There were some “cheat” days to make the experiment doable. For example, once each month the family got to have a real dessert – this would typically be to celebrate someone’s birthday. Also, when the girls went to birthday parties they got to make the decision of whether or not to enjoy sugar-laden treats without any judgment.

Year of No Sugar was both interesting and entertaining. Schaub’s writing is accessible, which probably stems from the fact that this book originally began as a blog. It definitely makes you think about how much sugar you’re putting in your body and trying to think of ways you can reduce it in your daily routine.

Celebrities · Design · Fashion · Food! · Health · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Parenting · Quick Read! · Self-Help

The Honest Life | by Jessica Alba

The Honest Life

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba
(Rodale Books, 2013, 272 pages)

One of my friends referenced this book a while ago so with the start of the new year I decided to look into some healthy lifestyle changes and requested The Honest Life from the library. Normally when it comes to celebrity lifestyle books I approach them with a grain of salt. Alba’s focus is on living “naturally,” so living in a way that’s eco-friendly and getting rid of as many of the toxic chemicals in our daily lives as possible. This means thinking hard about the food, clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies, etc. that you buy.

Alba’s motivation for taking this approach to life came when she got pregnant with her first daughter and started freaking out about wanting to keep her safe and in as “pure” an environment as possible. This eventually led her to start up The Honest Company with a focus on creating eco-friendly products that are high quality and visually appealing. While she definitely references her company a lot in these pages, she also recommends other products and companies so it’s not just one big advertisement for her business (though it does make you curious to check things out).

The book was accessible and there were a lot of really helpful tips I was able to take away. I liked that in addition to food and cleaning products she talked about beauty, parenting tips, fashion, and design. If you want to focus on living an eco-friendly life there are ways to do this in every aspect in your world. I’d recommend this book if you’re interested in this lifestyle choice. Like I mentioned, the book is very readable, helpful recommendations are made, and Alba includes a complete list of references at the end including contact information for all the companies/resources she talked about in the book.