It’s not every day that you meet an author that is very emotionally involved with his or her work. Especially today, where books like Fifty Shades of Gray and Twilight define popular literature, authors seem less connected with their work. They do not spend time refining their writing, and instead spit out books within six months like clockwork. Julia Soto Lebentritt is not one of these authors. Her work, As Long As You Sing, I’ll Dance, is full of heartfelt emotion, years of experience, stories, and hard work. Lebentritt put her soul into her writing, and it clearly comes across.
As Long As You Sing, I’ll Dance is based on the ability of a caretaker to love and take care of their charge, whether that person is a new-born baby, or an eighty-eight-year-old woman with dementia. The book also focuses on how those in need of care are able to give back to those that help them. In other words, reciprocal care.
Lebentritt believes that caretakers need to “relax and enjoy what you’re doing, or you don’t get anything back.”
The work focused more on how to reconnect with dementia patients, or in “caring for the most vulnerable…” Many unique techniques are outlined for this—for example, lullabies, which reconnect with a person’s natural instincts. Their rhythms, soft sounds, and melodies are able to connect to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in ways that language no longer can.
Another interesting theme of the work was the idea of loss of tradition in caretaking. For example, how women today do not breastfeed, thus losing a part of their connection with their child. Lebentritt believes that such “failure to pass on this primary caregiving tradition leads to conflict, insecure families, and a need for intervention therapies…”
While the book is not a difficult read and can occasionally be repetitive, it evokes emotions and very interesting ideas. However, Lebentritt’s work is very believable; she has the credentials and the years of experience. She began researching and looking into the effects of lullabies on people in the 1980s and has continued ever since. She has much experience as a caregiver, not only from years as an activity director for dementia patients, but as a daughter who saw her own mother go through Alzheimer’s. Thus, her writing has honesty to it. I would recommend As long As You Sing, I’ll Dance if you are a fan of nonfiction or if you like emotional and believable writing.
Also, if you are looking for something to do on a Saturday morning, I highly recommend stopping in at Market Block Books for a book signing. This is where Julia Soto Lebentritt was last Saturday. They have a book signing almost every Saturday during the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, as well as on Troy Nights Out. You can stop in, meet a new, interesting author, and then walk around the market on River Street. Market Block Books is a classy little shop that is personable and extremely cute. Talk directly to the author, enjoy a good atmosphere, and maybe a get some books for later. I’d say that is a good Saturday morning.