If the dead are never safely dead, and the past never past, the beauty of Tasha is in Morton’s very struggle to get Tasha right on the page, once and for all. With humility and grace, he tells us that he has failed his mother by not seeing her as a full and complete person, one with great courage, complexity and strength. But it is a gift of mature adulthood — and perhaps the work of writing memoir — to see our parents as people who exist outside of their centrality in our lives ... [A] lucid memoir ... Following her death, he offers a deeply stirring passage in which his cleareyed, empathetic understanding of his mother is channeled into her own voice as she might have railed against him in a torrent of onrushing words, never for an instant letting himself off the hook.
[A] bracing account ... Morton’s novels...all have in common a calm, caring voice that imbues the prose with a wry, pained tenderness, as if shaking its head at the human folly it describes. That same voice sustains this memoir ... 'How can you see your parents clearly?' Morton wonders. He’s not sure he’ll ever be able to, but to his extreme credit, he gives it everything...interleaved with his own present exhaustion, exasperation and anguish ... Truth: I found Tasha addictive. I couldn’t even slow down. Why? Its startling details, fearless depictions and the curiosity this sparks: How might Morton 'solve' the unsolvable? Best is Morton’s witty, scalding honesty ... A complex, arduous yet satisfying reckoning seeps through ... Tasha stands as both a cri de coeur and vibrant testament — the painstaking, brave, generous piecing-together of a wildly difficult puzzle.
... superb ... one thing that sets Tasha far apart from the usual one-sided literary conversation with a deceased parent is Morton's rigorous attempt to see his mother, Tasha, whole — as a person — not 'just' in relation to him, or, God forbid, an eccentric 'character' ... Another thing that distinguishes Tasha is Morton's elastic style as a writer, by turns droll, emotionally wrenching, and profound ... The land of no mercy would have been a fine alternate title for this powerful memoir. No mercy for the elderly in need; no mercy for the labor force that cares for them; no mercy for the guilt-ridden, exhausted adult children. It's a wonder that with themes this heavy, Tasha is such a pleasure to read, oscillating between past and present, horror and hilarity, the big social picture and one son's ongoing attempt to work out some stuff with his mother.
... a beautifully rendered story of filial love that paints a vivid portrait of both its subject and its author ... [an] eloquent blend of humor and pathos ... as honest as Morton is in describing his mother’s foibles, he’s equally frank in portraying his own ambivalence and recurring guilt at the decisions her condition thrusts upon him ... Morton has honored his mother and has brought that truth memorably to the page.
Morton's novels all have in common a calm, caring voice that imbues the prose with a wry, pained tenderness, as if shaking its head at the human folly it describes. That same voice sustains this memoir ... Caregivers for elderly parents may be stunned — also slightly relieved — to recognize various elements: desperate research, trial after trial (some, involving abusive caregivers, go shockingly wrong) and rage chased by guilt ... Truth: I found Tasha addictive. I couldn't even slow down. Why? Its startling details, fearless depictions and the curiosity this sparks: How might Morton 'solve' the unsolvable? Best is Morton's witty, scalding honesty — noting his fear, when a phrase suddenly eludes him, 'of my own dementia to come' ... stands as both a cri de coeur and vibrant testament — the painstaking, brave, generous piecing-together of a wildly difficult puzzle.
...hilarious yet tender ... Morton excels at bringing his novelist’s eye to many such standoffs, including picking up his mother at the police station on more than one occasion ... his superb storytelling skills add a helpful dose of levity. As a result, Tasha takes a difficult topic and transforms it into a soulful and often funny memoir about spirited mothers, refreshingly told from a son’s point of view. The book’s unique ending, which gives Tasha the last word, is an absolute tour de force.
A biography wrapped in a memoir ... Tasha, though, is not merely a catalogue of the great woman's accomplishments; Morton offers this up as context before focusing more fully on his mother's eventual stroke and slow decline toward death ... Tasha is a beautiful and kind, if not always nice, tribute to a mother from her son, told with a quality of self-reflective honesty that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming ... A moving memoir.
A son's loving and hard reflection of his mother ... Morton’s writing is conversational and engaging throughout, offering a vivid portrait of a sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-challenging relationship between a mother and son ... This is a charming and sad memoir, reminding readers of life’s inevitabilities, the beauty of the journey, and the lesson to hold on to those close to them with a fierceness.
Morton has an appealing style and shares his challenges...with a dose of humor and self-deprecation. He’s also honest about his hesitancy to bring his mother into his own home and his own feelings of inadequacy. This is a personal story, but anyone facing the same challenges will be nodding along in agreement.
The author’s revised portrayal of Tasha is both comic and tender. He recounts frustrating, absurd conversations ... His affecting memoir reveals a desperate woman railing against indignities and loneliness and a son powerless to assuage her pain ... Melancholy and familial devotion imbue a nuanced, poignant portrait.