A Family Memoir
by Denise Dorrance
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Pub Date 05 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 04 Mar 2024
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For fans of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, an unputdownable debut graphic memoir: The what-fresh-hell story of two whirlwind months in the life of the author, when she suddenly has to care for her dementia-impaired mother, whose last home she urgently needs to find.
When Denise Dorrance’s elderly mother is discovered confused on the floor of her Iowa home, Denise catches the first flight from London and arrives having to organize her immediate care. As her mother experiences the swirling confusion of dementia, hospitalized with the insurance running out, Denise wrestles with childhood memories and a toxic relationship with her sister. Pressure mounts after their mother is abruptly discharged and critical decisions must be made about her future—all as a classic Midwestern polar vortex sweeps through.
In a cinematic style of flowing illustrations that incorporate vintage postcards, photos, and letters, Dorrance brilliantly captures the sadness, frustration, and gallows humor of a situation known to many: suddenly having to care for an aging parent who’s no longer able to live independently, with no good options for what comes next. Polar Vortex compassionately, poignantly, and humorously captures the moment of transition between life as we’ve long known it and life as it must become.
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Average rating from 6 members
If i had read this book 20 years ago, I would have sympathized, but not understood. Those of you who do not have elderly parents have *no* idea what getting them sorted when they can no longer live at home is like. With my mother, we had at least talked about it, and when the time came, she came to live with us.
The author in this story, lives abroad, and knows she can’t get her mother to come live with them, so goes to see what she can do. The way Medicare works in the United States is *very* confusing. The whole principal is that you have to keep getting better. When my partner ended up in the hospital, one of the reasons she was able to get in-hospital rehab was because she *was* getting better. In the case of the mother in this story, she is not getting better. She has dementia of some sort, and doesn’t seem to understand where she is until the system kicks her out and she goes home. There she is herself for the first time in the novel, and finally finds her purse that didn’t go to the hospital with her
The polar vortex in the title is referring to the type of weather that the area where her mother lives is having. Very different from the UK, where the author lives.
An excellent book for those who have gone through this, and those who have yet to go through this. I could see my mother in her mother.
Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. This book is coming out the 5th of March 2024.
I really enjoyed Polar Vortex. I appreciated the author's exploration of caring for an aging parent with dementia. It showed how difficult and overwhelming the experience can be, but I also appreciated the author's ability to find the sunny moments amidst a blizzard.
A heartfelt memoir about a mother living with dementia at her old age. The illustration is in doodle-style, completed with real pictures of the memories the mother kept neatly in the basement. The narrative is laced with light humor, and it gave me a perspective about insurance which is kind of wild I think. Can’t believe there’s people benefitting from the future’s uncertainty just to pay them back in dust when the “worst” is actually happening.
Perfect for Dancing at the Pity Party readers.
Having experienced the decline of a family member in a similar way, this one hit close to home for me. The delicate rendering of the snow and the people perfectly complimented the heavy narrative.
A heartbreakingly beautiful memoir of a daughter and her coming to terms with her mother’s dementia. The illustrations in this graphic novel were quite beautiful and I also enjoyed the real photos throughout. My heart broke for the daughter when she realized she had to make a decision and didn’t know which was the right one. I cried at the end.
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.