DEAR JUDY

A LOVE STORY REWRITTEN BY ALZHEIMER’S

A sadly tender and fiercely intelligent remembrance of a loved one and loss.

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In this memoir, a man recounts his wife’s struggles with Alzheimer’s disease and his own challenges as her principal caregiver.

James and his wife, Judy, were intellectually vibrant “creatives” who met while studying art in college. During their four decades of marriage, Judy in particular was blessed with a remarkable memory and her “mental acuity defined her.” But the author began to notice “cognitive blips” and “increasingly noticeable ‘hiccups,’ ” various expressions of what looked like signs of cognitive impairment. In 2009, Judy was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that slowly started to overtake her life. She began to wrestle with the demands of work—Judy was an artist and a college lecturer—and the complaints from students began to pour in. Her short-term memory all but vanished—immediately after watching a movie or TV show, she forgot it entirely. Eventually, she had to abandon driving, and she experienced considerable losses in mobility—even bathing and going to the bathroom on her own became impossible. James became her care provider and was forced to travel through the “alien territory of dementia,” a journey he conveys with bracing candor and impressive thoughtfulness. With emotional poignancy, he chronicles—both through the book’s account and heartfelt letters he sent to his deceased wife—the emotional and practical throes of managing Judy’s condition until the very end, when her self-consciousness “evaporated” and she was put in hospice care. James captures with an artist’s sensitivity the peculiar experience of caring for a loved one whose personality slips away: “She had a disease for which there was no effective or long-term treatment and for which there was no cure. We had no experience of it from which to try to squeeze even a tentative action plan. We learned that it would take the person she was and, piece by piece, erase that person and nearly everything she ever knew or felt or imagined.” This is a beautifully heartbreaking memoir and should be a source of edification and comfort to anyone with a similar experience.

A sadly tender and fiercely intelligent remembrance of a loved one and loss.

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 979-8987628621

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Pine Eden Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller

TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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