Polar Vortex

A Family Memoir

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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.

This file is NOT currently available for Kindle. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have difficulties with downloading, please email us (at publicity@theexperimentpublishing.com) for...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781615199051
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 27 members

Featured Reviews

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC

This was a wonderfully done work. It speaks of the grief of dealing with a parent's dementia, unability to take care for themselves and having to prepare yourself for their future death. It deals with the topic genuinely. It takes you through the process slowly and emotionally. It takes it's time to linger on the seemingly meaningless everyday moments - which are all tainted by the grief, the fear, the guilt, the anger and love.

The artstyle is pleasant, at times very beautiful, always clear. Both easy on the eye and easy to read.

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There's something about a graphic novel memoir that makes them hit harder. I've always loved reading them, and so thought I would take a chance on this one. I popped it open soon as I got the ARC just to read a few pages and didn't stop till I was done. It was a gut punch, but also beautiful, but also hard. It's universal and personal. I plan on buying myself a hard copy when it comes out, and I hope you'll take the time to read and love this as much as i have. Blankets has always been one of my favorite graphic novels and this reminded me of that but on the other side of life. Those relationships and memories make us who we are.

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review.

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Polar Vortex is a story about becoming your parent's caregiver when they can no longer to care for themselves. Denise is living in London when she receives a call that her mother needs her. She rushes back to the US, during a terrible winter, completely unprepared for the weather and the life changing situation she is about to undertake. As days turn into weeks, Denise has to navigate the heath care and elder care system for her mother, trying her best to take her wishes into consideration while dealing with the realities of finances and family. Though sad and stark, Denise shows the humanity and love that caregivers feel as they must go through at this tough chapter of life.

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Thank you The Experiment LLC and NetGalley for the advanced electronic review copy of this book. This book hit very close to home for me as I’m currently in the same situation, taking care of my father with dementia. It accurately describes the agonizing decisions we, as family members, have to make to provide the best quality of life for the elderly parent who is unable to do it on their own. Both heartbreaking and realistic, thank you for bringing awareness to this important stage of our lives.

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I was able to read an advance copy through NetGalley. I wish I could remember where I heard about this book because I'm so glad I had it on my TBR list. Truly a brutiful and moving memoir that captures the challenge of how to best care for loved ones with dementia.

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I loved this poignant and moving graphic memoir. The artwork is expressive and carries you quickly through the story, keeping a hopeful and encouraging mood on a sensitive topic, which could have been portrayed far more darkly. It struck a good balance.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC, all opinions are my own.

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This book hit every chord it could for me. I related so hard and found myself feeling every feeling. I enjoyed the simple, classic, yet subdued illustrations. I especially enjoyed the authentic and realistic voice. I feel like things wrapped up kind of quickly and would have liked it a little more in that matter, but like in life. we don't always get the opportunity to do so. This one really got the tears and harsh realities rolling for me, but did so in a calm and understanding matter. The vulnerability was overwhelming for a graphic novel and I loved that it felt like you were simply reading a comic about your best friend's life.

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Beautifully written/drawn and emotionally devastating. In telling the story of finding care for her mother living with dementia, Dorrance captures details that bring her experiences to life in ways that will resonate with many readers. I appreciate the lack of easy answers in her mother's situation, the realism of the dialogue, as well as the dark humor that comes along with some of Dorrance's imagined conversations with Death. Dorrance doesn't shy away from the pain and frustration of balancing both the emotions and financial reality of caring for an aging parent from a distance. A heavy, reflective read that may evoke a lot of feelings related to the inadequacy of elder care in the United States.

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A very tender read about a woman working her way through the American healthcare system and trying to obtain the end of life care her mother deserves. A graphic novel we need! I particularly loved the use of the grim reaper as a device to provide the looming pressure one feels while caring for an aging relative.

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Dorrance tackles a heartbreaking and difficult subject in this graphic memoir: being torn between wanting to live your own life with the family you've created, and needing to care for an elderly parent who lives far away.

After decades spent in London, the author returns home to the Midwest in the middle of a brutal winter. Her mother is suffering from dementia, and can no longer care for herself. She needs a place to live with round the clock care. The baffling American medical/insurance system offers little help.

Tough decisions need to be made.

I have been there, and done this, and it's no picnic. You're either wracked with guilt, or made to be a martyr. Luckily my mother was cogent enough to say, "Go home. Be with your boys." And, so I did. Yeah . . . I chose the guilt option.

This is a well done and touching examination of end-of-life care, and the impact it has on every family member.

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The illustrations and colors are great. It works well with the story. I think any graphic novel reader would enjoy the story. I enjoyed the flow of the panels and how the story slowly unfolded. I think a lot of people can relate to this story. It can be hard to take care of your parents when you have your own things going on in life.

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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.

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