Making an Exit: A Mother-Daughter Drama with Alzheimer's, Machine Tools, and Laughter

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Macmillan, Mar 1, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 191 pages
2 Reviews
Crackling with energy, the unexpected love story of a career-driven mother, a once-resentful daughter, and a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's

At a time when such things were rare, Elinor Fuchs's mother, Lil, escaped a miserable marriage, took back her maiden name, left young Elinor to be raised by grandparents, and launched a career that led her from the midwest to Washington, D.C. Rejoining her as an adolescent, Elinor watched as Lil traveled the world selling automotive parts and military gear, gave fabulous parties, and "in any given room, took up all the air there was." With her stunning looks and drive for success, Lil was a figure to admire, not a mother to love. Elinor determined to despise her mother's values and, once in college, to keep her distance.

Making an Exit is the moving account of what happened afterward, during the final years of Lil's life. Following her mother's diagnosis with Alzheimer's, Fuchs finds herself the caretaker. As the disease progresses, she becomes her mother's mother, dressing her, bathing her, feeding her-all with growing compassion. Lil changes, too: filled with new warmth, the word "love" now regularly crosses her lips. And through the fantastic poetry in the disintegration of Lil's language, mother and daughter make a surprising new start.

With wit, wisdom, and theatrical flair, Making an Exit tells an uncommon story of a parent's decline-less a conventional narrative of aging and loss than one of discovery, devotion, and spiritual growth. "The last ten years," writes Fuchs, "they were our best."
  

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User Review  - bobbieharv - LibraryThing

About her mother's Alzheimers decline. Very well done, especially because she captured her crazy word salad and her formidable narcissistic personality, which never really left. Read full review

Making an exit: a mother-daughter drama with Alzheimer's, machine tools, and laughter

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Renowned drama critic Fuchs (Yale Sch. of Drama; The Death of Character: Perspectives on Theater After Modernism ) recounts the last years of her larger-than-life mother, Lillian, who died of ... Read full review

Contents

CHEVY CHASE I
1
RADCLIFFE TO RIO
19
FRIED CONNECTIONS
35
SPARE PARTS
57
VACATION
73
LIFE IS A DREAM
87
ISADORA DUNCAN
117
MINIMENTAL
135
HOME
157
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
189
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Elinor Fuchs, a professor at the Yale School of Drama, is the author of an award-winning play and major works of criticism, including The Death of Character. A nationally recognized theater critic, Fuchs wrote for The Village Voice for more than ten years, and has also contributed to The New York Times, Vogue, and American Theatre. She lives in Brooklyn.

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