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Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite
Author Tinky Weisblat's mother Jan, better known as Taffy, died at age 93 in December of 2011. Bright, active Taffy suffered from dementia in her last months on earth. Born in 1918, Taffy graduated from Mount Holyoke College. "She was very much in the world for most of her life." Taffy's brain deteriorated and Tinky advises the reader to live with humor, joy and patience. As her daughter, Tinky cared for Taffy but it was not easy. She writes of the time one night when she found her mother sitting on the toilet, refusing to go back to bed lest someone kill her. Another time, Taffy dressed herself for the day at 1am in the morning as she could not tell night from day. Home health aides were a tremendous asset in getting Taffy through her days, as was music which enriched their lives over and over again. Tinky also includes recipes for foods in this memoir as she enjoyed sharing Taffy's cooking with her in her final months.
"Pulling Taffy" is a lovely, well-written memoir of a daughter's last months with her elderly mother's dementia and declining physical condition. Tinky Weisblat tells lovingly of her mother and shows she understood how difficult it was to deal with dementia. On page 118, she writes, "My mother is suspended between past and present", often asking to go home. The author offers good advice for the reader who may or may not have a family member with dementia. She tells them to reach out as somebody will always be there to help. She also advises on page 189, "Listen to your loved one's words...and watch his/her body language...they do give us non-verbal clues." Despite the plethora of books about Alzheimer's/Dementia, "Pulling Taffy" should be on readers' lists everywhere.