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Pulling Taffy: A Year with Dementia and Other Adventures Paperback – June 23, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Five-Star Review. 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 [writes] lovingly of her mother.... Despite the plethora of books about Alzheimer's/Dementia, Pulling Taffy should be on readers' lists everywhere.
            
           
  -- Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite


A touching account of a daughter turned caregiver to her dementia-afflicted mother...

The author's account of her final year with her mother provides a candid look at an emotionally wrenching time that included laughter, tears, cooking, singing and dancing...

Recounting her year of caretaking with honest humility, Weisblat created a forum for the author to forgive herself for her perceived shortcomings, and her book may help relieve the pressure for readers who find themselves in similar circumstances.

A poignant, heartfelt memoir that offers support and inspiration.

       -- Kirkus Indie Reviews

[This] experience might have made for a sad story. But Weisblat, a freelance writer who lives in Hawley, focused instead on the moments of grace, love, acceptance and even humor....

Weisblat's narrative voice through all of this is conversational, sometimes funny, sometimes sad.... What emerges most strongly is a loving portrait of her mother....

"In the end, (my mother) taught me a lot about patience and living in the moment," Weisblat said. "And for that, I'm truly grateful."

       -- Steve Pfarrer, The Amherst Bulletin

No shrinking violet, the self-described "chanteuse" who often performs with renowned composer and fellow Hawleyite Alice Parker ... goes straight to the heart of the matter.... In probably the most challenging part of Weisblat's life, she nevertheless retained her unsinkable Molly Brown attitude--sometimes through tears--but always returning to sunny-side up somehow. She tells her and her mother's story with candor, compassion, and humor.

          --  Virginia Ray, The Shelburne Falls & West County Independent

A loving, enduring mother-daughter relationship shines through on the page even under the frustration and stress caused by the effects of Alzheimer's disease. There's no shortage of reality in Pulling Taffy
, which achieves that everyday-life blend of the pain of caring for an ailing parent and the joy that can be found in the simplest things, such as cooking together.   

    -- Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

From the Back Cover

Advance Praise for Pulling Taffy:

After doctors diagnose Tinky Weisblat's mother Jan "pleasantly demented," the two women begin a year of living together with Alzheimer's disease. Tinky finds that  "fate keeps on happening," and she discovers resources in herself and her mother that bring them closer--even when they are at wit's end.

Pulling Taffy is a warm-hearted memoir full of love, humor, struggle, constancy and good old-fashioned pluck. The book reminds us that even when life grows dark, we encounter courage, grace and our own deepest humanity.

        -- Martha Ackmann, author of The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight and Curveball: The Remarkable Story of  Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League.

Tinky Weisblat shows us how to enjoy the moment and embrace the person a dementia patient is now--and also forgive ourselves for not having all the answers. Tinky's insight into her mother's perspective is remarkable. She bends, adapts, invents, compromises, validates, sacrifices, and reaches to meet Taffy exactly where she is in her dementia journey. Tinky celebrates those little victories that all regivers experience (but rarely acknowledge).

Pulling Taffy
is not only a wonderful tribute to Taffy but an inspiring and uplifting read for caregivers and the general public.

       -- Joan Miller Sutton, MA, Connections for Seniors
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Merry Lion Press, The; 1 edition (June 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974274100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974274102
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,580,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Writer and singer Tinky Weisblat lives in Hawley, Massachusetts, and Alexandria, Virginia. She believes in the connections that food establishes between people, bridging time and space to tap us on the shoulder (or rather in the tastebuds!) with the flavor of people we care about. Tinky has a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and likes to weave history and biography into her writings about food, life, and the media. She is a classic kitchen klutz; her meals seldom look as though they were crafted by a food stylist. Her culinary products always taste good, however, and they are always fairly simple to make.

Her most recent book, "Pulling Taffy," combines journal entries, recipes, stories, and meditations to describe her final year of caring for her mother, Jan/Taffy, who died in 2011 and suffered from dementia. The book is touching but also funny. For more information about either of Tinky's books, visit http://tinkycooks.com/tinkys-books/.

Tinky's next book, "Dishes to Die For," will provide recipes (and fun commentary) for funeral foods from all 50 states and beyond. Her website is http://www.TinkyCooks.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Tinky Weisblat brings to the think tank of dealing with victims of and caregivers for Alzheimer's a fresh approach and one that provides deep insight in coping with the very strange passage through the usually only darkened tunnel of Alzheimer's. She is a breath of fresh air and her thoughts and approach are bound to assist many who find themselves in the same position - caring for an aged parent whose mind may resemble Swiss cheese synaptic control.

Weisblat is both a writer and a singer - a troubadour of sorts - who decided to keep a journal of her daily relationship during the last year of caring for her 93 year old mother whose nickname is Taffy. What makes this endearing book unique is the fact that rather than approaching the subject of care giving for demented elders as a heart on the sleeve observation of a mind evaporating to the point of inability to make sense of the world and those around them, but instead electing to find the humor inherent in actual observations of behavioral changes.

Ever the fine story teller, Weisblat remolds situations that are usually the source of frustration and agony for those coping with tending to the demented into lessons of patience, understanding letting go of complete control and flowing with the ebb and flow of cognizance (getting up and dressed during the night to go shopping, etc, remarkable neediness for assistance with the most basic tasks of functioning etc) and instead, with a full heart of support and love, allowing the diminished dignity to pass through those lapses in mentation until reality surfaces again. Patience, her message, results in loving bonding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adelaide B. Shaw on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Tinky Weisblat's writing, the patience, love, frustration and humor come through clearly. The author's mother was a remarkable woman. This is a lovely tribute to her. The author, rather than letting herself become bogged down with both pity for her mother and self-pity for herself,found a way with her writing to keep her senses and deal with what had to be done. You will admire her courage and devotion.

Adelaide B. Shaw
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Tinky Weisblat is amazing! Taking one of the hardest things a family member can do - walk the walk with a dying beloved family member, she makes the choice to be reflective, up-beat, reaching out and supportive. She easily could have done otherwise. But we, the readers of Pulling Taffy [[ASIN:0974274100 Pulling Taffy: A Year with Dementia and Other Adventures], are the beneficiaries of her insights, humor, and deep love. In a similar situation we also have that choice -but only if we are aware that it is there, and well worth working on!

Using family, church, and community support systems well, Tinky shows us that we are not alone in the crises in our lives, if only we choose to share the highs and lows with those around us. Asking for help is a sign of strength in this experience, and we all would do well to choose a similar route when, not if, we face similar circumstances! I learned a lot from Tinky, and you will, too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patricia K. Muchmore on October 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading this touching tribute to an amazing woman. Not only is it written well, but it moves along so much so that you can't stop reading! Tinky writes lovingly about her journey with Taffy (and their wonderful animals). It's a glimpse into another time - and you get sucked into Janice/Taffy's insatiable appetite for learning, adventure and love. In many ways, Mt. Holyoke College was critical in infusing Janice with a desire to be open to all cultures, all people, all experiences. Touching and raw at times, Tinky shares her story caring for her failing mother while at the same time trying to identify her role as a daughter. Lovely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grad on July 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Pulling Taffy, by Tinky Weisblat is lovely little gem of a memoir. It covers one year in the life of a mother who is living with Alzheimer's, and her daughter who is determined that "living" remains the operative word. Make no mistake, these are no ordinary mother and daughter. Jan Weisblat lived an accomplished, interesting and full life most of us would envy. It ended with grace and dignity. If you need something funny, poignant, sometimes sad, but always uplifting, this is the ticket.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Hahn on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pulling Taffy has the survival sense of humor that will get us all through most of life's health and caregiving challenges. This book is a must read.... Alzheimer's is a 50/50 shot for us all and a growing epidemic. Tinky Weisblat's "journal" of spending a year with all the ups and downs as she and her mom traveled this road together is a guiding light in a sea of "OMG books" on this part of "the journey."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NJ Mom on January 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
For anyone in the "thick" of caring for someone with Alzheimer's, you will appreciate this read. It's a great reminder to love and enjoy the little things even when it all seems like too much to handle. Tinky writes about what turns out to be her last year with her Mom. Through journal entries, she shares the ups and downs with wit and humor.
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