Monday, November 2, 2009

Still Alice

Still Alice: a Novel
By Lisa Genova
Pocket Books, 2007. 293 pgs. Fiction

Alice Howland is a successful Harvard professor at the top of her field. She has a happy marriage, three grown children, and will soon be a grandmother. However, soon after her 50th birthday she begins to experience lapses in her memory and in a terrifying episode gets completely lost two blocks from her home. Her physician sends her to a specialist who diagnoses her with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The rest of the book describes her emotions and thoughts throughout her mental decline.

I can’t say I enjoyed reading this book. That said, it is still a powerful portrayal of a little understood terminal condition that affects many aging individuals and their families. Genova definitely gives the reader a glimpse into a mind aware of its own diminishing capacity and it’s a devastating viewpoint. I am certain that the difficulty I experienced in reading this story comes from a close personal connection to Alzheimer’s which runs rampant in my father’s family. The story rang true and exposed emotions I hadn’t revisited in several years. Definitely a book to recommend to anyone wanting a better understanding of the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.


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