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Still Alice by Lisa Genova


Neuroscientist and debut novelist Genova mines years of experience in her field to craft a realistic portrait of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alice Howland has a career not unlike Genova’s-she’s an esteemed psychology professor at Harvard, living a comfortable life in Cambridge with her husband, John, arguing about the usual (making quality time together, their daughter’s move to L.A.) when the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin to emerge. First, Alice can’t find her Blackberry, then she becomes hopelessly disoriented in her own town. Alice is shocked to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s (she had suspected a brain tumor or menopause), after which her life begins steadily to unravel. She loses track of rooms in her home, resigns from Harvard and eventually cannot recognize her own children. The brutal facts of Alzheimer’s are heartbreaking, and it’s impossible not to feel for Alice and her loved ones, but Genova’s prose style is clumsy and her dialogue heavy-handed. This novel will appeal to those dealing with the disease and may prove helpful, but beyond the heartbreaking record of illness there’s little here to remember.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova | 320pp. | 2.11.10 | A+

REVIEW:
When I started reading this book, I really couldn’t put it down.  There was so much in it that’s so real that I felt alarmed with my own forgetfulness!  It was surreal and so real.  I was crying between reads, emotionally so into the world of Alice.  I saw Alice and her family in denial, how they try to accept what was inevitable and how Alice, her husband and her children struggled – to accept, to understand, to compromise.
Until now I still have a lump in my throat, trying not to cry and be objective with this reviews but I can’t.  I still am not over Alice’s speech, or how this book made an impact on how we should look at our lives – not of the careers of tomorrow nor the success of today – but how we carved our way in the relationships we have with the people we love and like.  Of what a home is – not just a place to stay, but a place of refuge and comfort.  With Alzheimer’s, longing for home and for the hugs of the people we love.
I recommend Still Alice for everyone.  We need a good dose of this kind of book in our lives to remind us time and again of what is important – living for today and reaching out to another human being.  The present is our only chance, to make a difference in the future.  As was said:
“The clock is running.
Make the most of today.
Time waits for no man.
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That’s why it is called the PRESENT.”  

– excerpt from the 1902 book,”Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday: Garden Delights…” by Alice Morse Earle

 

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