The Unravelling

How our caregiving safety net came unstrung and we were left grasping at threads, struggling to plait a new one

by Clem Martini & Olivier Martini

published by Freehand Books

2017

Biography & Memoir, Graphic Novel, Medical | 240

CDN $: $23.95

In the follow-up to their award-winning memoir Bitter Medicine, brothers Clem and Olivier Martini continue the story of their family’s journey through mental illness, dementia, caregiving, and the health care system.

Olivier Martini and his mother, Catherine, have lived together since he was diagnosed with schizophrenia thirty-six years ago. It hasn’t always been a perfect living situation, but it’s worked — Catherine has helped Olivier through the ups and downs of living with a mental illness, and Olivier has cared for his aging mother as her mobility becomes limited, and Olivier’s brothers Clem and Nic have provided support to both as well. But then Olivier experiences a health crisis at the exact same time that his mother starts slipping into dementia.

The Martini family’s lifelong struggle with mental illness is suddenly complicated immeasurably as they begin to navigate the convoluted world of assisted living and long-term care. With anger, dry humour, and hope, The Unravelling tells the story of one family’s journey with mental illness, dementia, and caregiving, through a poignant graphic narrative from Olivier accompanied by text from his brother, award-winning playwright and novelist Clem Martini.

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