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Book Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter by Elinor Fuchs (2006-01-10)


Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter by Elinor Fuchs (2006-01-10)

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    Elinor Fuchs(Author)

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  • Elinor Fuchs(Author)
  • Picador (1853)
  • Unknown
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Review Text

  • By Ana Steele Clark on October 3, 2013

    A subject all of us need to know much more about, and this book provided lots of useful information and wonderfully personal (and enjoyable) anecdotes and insights. The "extras" for this reader: the Washington, DC locations and the background of involvement in the theatre. One of many lessons learned----that Alzheimer's, and other dementias, affects everyone in different and unique ways. There's no "one size fits all" to this growing challenge.

  • By Kris R on July 23, 2013

    With a mother and mother-in-law who had Alzheimer's this is a kind, funny and beautifully written story. While my mother wasn't like Elinor Fuchs, Alzheimer's makes us all connected.

  • By John Thorndike, Author of "The Last of His Mind" on July 15, 2009

    Starting with its antic subtitle (A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter), this memoir keeps a light tone. This fits the personality of the author's mother, an unstoppable 84-year-old, Lillian Kessler, who while confused is also lively. "She was not impossible," Fuchs writes, because "she was cruel or cold. She was impossible because there was so much of her."Kessler charms the attendants at her nursing home, and us, and eventually even her resentful daughter. She makes for a great subject, especiallly because of how colorfully she mangles the language. So many dementia patients are depressed, retiring, even wordless. Not Lillian Kessler, whose outbreaks of "word salad" dot the book, and are quoted at the start of each chapter. "Oh, I'm in a dedeford," she says. "They're having a bedurz. I mean, they're having a cressit."This is fun. But the emotional heart of the book is how the author gradually overcomes her resentment of a mother whose focus was so often elsewhere when she was growing up. After caring for her mother through ten years of what Fuchs calls the Emergency, she is able to say, "The last ten years: they were our best."

  • By Daniel Kuhn on July 19, 2005

    Elinor Fuchs writes of navigating the long-distance caregiver role, first with the help of part-time paid caregivers and then live-in caregivers. Care eventually moves to an assisted living facility and finally a nursing home. Fuchs marks each transition with mixed feelings over meeting her mother's dependency needs while trying to preserve her independence. Fortunately, her loving uncle was available to make decisions with her until his own death. Fuchs' intelligence, good humor, and compassion enable her to enjoy her mother in spite of her limitations. She begins to reframe the meaning of her mother's fractured language: "I see Lil not only as a `patient' and `sick.' But as an artist, spinning poetry of a private world, and I began to carry a little tape recorder to catch these exchanges." As a result, each chapter of the book begins with an excerpt that reveals their playful, wacky, and sometimes profound conversations. This memoir is filled with funny anecdotes that show how her mother retained her essential self well throughout the disease.This book is a joy to read. More than a narrative about aging and loss, it is a story of love's triumph. "The last ten years," writes Fuchs, "they were our best." If only more family caregivers in the midst of such adversity could grasp such an unexpected gift.

  • By Geraldine Puhara on August 25, 2005

    This book is fascinating reading, and very inspirational for anyone who desires to make the most of the time remaining with their loved one with Alzheimers. This is not a "Stage of Alzheimers" primer, but a fascinating memoir of a daughter caring for her mother with Alzheimers. Elinor Fuchs' story is unique because she finds ways to turn the difficulties of her mother's Alzheimers into opportunities for love, care, and family healing.Elinor Fuchs, a professor of drama at Yale University, seems so comfortable in her mother's fractured world, and finds the laughter within always. One very poignant moment occurs when the author is trying to determine whether her mother would rather return to her home of 30 years, or stay in an assisted living facility. Her mother responds: "Why go back in life when you can go forward."This book will bring tears, laughter, and wisdom to those who take the time to savor it.Gerry Puhara

  • By M. Walsh on April 10, 2005

    This is a wonderful book. It's about a downer subject-Alzheimer's---but manages to be funny, inspiring, hopeful and informative about the process of AD. Other reviewers are right---it is a page turner.So what an achievement---an upbeat, engrossing book about a human tragedy. I've read a lot of first person accounts about the dementia of a relative and this is the best. It should become a classic. And now the author Fuchs, who teaches at the Yale School of Drama, should make a play of this.

  • By rose90 on March 7, 2005

    Both Lil's story and the story of her daughter Elinor (the author/narrator) are enthralling. This is a funny, fast-paced, dramatic book, which captures deep emotions (the pain of a parent's illness, the growing love between mother and daughter) yet is always entertaining. A provocative meditation on love, loss, and memory, but also a page-turner.

  • By Sureva Towler on April 4, 2005

    Laughter is the key to surviving a mother with Altzheimers. This story is so full of laughter and love that it eases the pain of the adventure, maybe not while its going on, but certainly after the "exit." It's a non-stop read at any stage of the experience even if you got along with your mother just fine.

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