Still Alice

Still AliceStill Alice by Lisa Genova

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know if this should be 3 stars or not. I was reluctant to read this since I had a grandmother with Alzheimers, but I think it does hold a message of comfort and perhaps inspiration for those who might be dealing with the disease. There is a lot of good information here about some of the treatments. The author clearly knows her topic, and takes every opportunity to impart what she knows. As a work of fiction, though, I found it lacking in what makes a good novel. I found the beginning of the story to be quite boring. Since we seem to be in Alice’s head throughout, there isn’t enough depth to any of the other characters. Conversations are stilted. While Alice’s decline is alarming, and she has moments of fear, panic, anger, etc., I feel the author shied away from the more heartbreaking aspects of the later stages of Alzheimers. We are left with a childlike Alice at the end of the book, without complex reasoning and language skills, but someone still in possession of “herself” and her emotions, and still surrounded by her loving family. Bottom line – unrealistic, but there were some very touching moments.

Description: Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…

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