Still Alice by Lisa Genova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had a very hard time getting into this book. The main character, Alice, is my age when she is diagnosed with Early Onset
Alzheimer's Disease. At the onset of the disease, she has many symptoms similar to those of us who are 50. Forgetfulness, of course, is one of those symptoms.
As I read the first half, I was depressed. I even call myself Forgetfulone. This could happen to me! I have to admit, it took me months to get through the first half. I would pick it up and read a little bit and put it down. I'd wait a few weeks or a month and pick it up again. Finally, I just decided to get over the fear I felt about this happening to me and finish the book. So I did. And it was good.
The main character, Alice Howland, is a respected cognitive psychologist on the teaching staff at Harvard. She's an avid runner, a mentor, and a gifted public speaker. Her husband also works on staff at Harvard. They have three children, two of whom are married. The novel explores the complexities of family relationships both before the onset and after. It also shows the complex process of diagnosis, testing, procedures, medications that may or may not help, support, and the hardships it imposes on relatives of the patient and the patient herself.
As the disease gets worse, Alice forgets and repeats herself often. The author writes it this way which is a little tedious, but it does help the reader comprehend the effects of the disease. The ending was sad, but realistic. It's important to note that the author, Lisa Genova, is a neuroscientist, so she knows her subject well. This is also her debut novel.
Still Alice has been made into a movie starring Julianne Moore, but I haven't seen it yet.
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