Pulling Taffy

A Year with Dementia and Other Adventures

Non-Fiction - Memoir
206 Pages
Reviewed on 03/19/2013
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Author Biography

Tinky "Dakota" Weisblat is a writer and singer who divides her time between Hawley, Massachusetts, and Alexandria, Virginia. She is the author of "The Pudding Hollow Cookbook" (http://www.merrylion.com) and two blogs, "In Our Grandmothers' Kitchens" (http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com) and "What's a Girl to Do" (http://tinkyweisblat.wordpress.com).

She has a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College (her mother's and grandmother's alma mater!), a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Texas, and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. Tinky has worked in a variety of settings--teaching college, editing the catalog at the Museum of Television & Radio, introducing movies at a French film festival--but her first love is writing. Her favorite topics are food and popular culture.

Tinky wrote "Pulling Taffy" to share her strategies for showing stress the door (or at least encouraging it to go out the window for a while)--and also to pay tribute to her mother. She writes with feeling and humor.

    Book Review

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.