Culled from sixty blog posts spanning eight years, Tangles and Plaques is a candid account of a mother and daughter’s changing relationship as they face the progressive landscape of Alzheimer’s Disease together. As the twisted fibers (tangles) build up inside the nerve cells in her brain and the protein fragments (plaques) fill the spaces between those cells, Effie Johnson—like millions of others who suffer from Alzheimer’s—loses her memory, the stories that make up the fabric of her life.
Blending humor (“I Can’t Find My Panties”) with pathos (“Disappearing Stories”) and hope with despair, Cushman captures the personal within the universal in a story that reveals a complicated relationship between an often verbally abusive mother and a daughter hungry for her mother’s unconditional love. Part Polaroid, part cautionary tale, the reality woven throughout these records of long-distance caregiving is that the tangles and plaques aren’t only in our brains, but often in our relationships.
About the Author
Susan Cushman is editor of a collection of essays by twenty women, A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be (Mercer University Press, 2017) and was a contributor to three anthologies: Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (University of Alabama Press, 2012), The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul (Rivers Edge Media, 2013), and Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women (She Writes Press, February, 2015). Her novel, Cherry Bomb, is forthcoming in October of 2017 (Dogwood Press).