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the art of living and dying

Leaving Tinkertown (Literature and Medicine Series) - Tanya Ward Goodman

An intimate celebration of an exuberant life tragically taken by a relentless disease. A daughter's honest and loving tribute to a devoted but difficult father. An inspiration to anyone negotiating the complex dynamics of a vibrant family while navigating the downward spiral of death, Alzheimer's being the culprit in this case. I lost my father to Alzheimer's, and my mother-in-law is now suffering it, which makes me appreciate Tanya's take on things all the more. It's deeply compassionate without waxing sentimental and painfully frank without becoming cynical. It's also more than an account of managing the illness, the illness being so demanding and exhausting that managing it is enough to make you lose sight of everything else, but Tanya doesn't. Her focus is comparably keen when considering her father's fascinating and sometimes maddening life as a graphic and improvisational artist on the circus circuit and elsewhere. His wayward and visionary inclinations resulted in Tinkertown, a riotous roadside attraction he meticulously crafted upon a raw desert landscape and called home. Gumption, humor and irreverence are givens, and Tanya makes the most of them. Just getting to know her and her extended Tinkertown family is reason enough to enjoy the read.