Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice is a compelling début 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… Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind…
” ~ Blurb from Amazon

My Take

This is a – must read! What a compelling story about a remarkable woman whose life is slowly torn apart by this dreadful disease – Alzheimer’s. The reader journeys with Alice the main character through the stunning diagnosis of her Alzheimer’s, her painful disbelief and her eventual decision to come to terms with this illness. If you like a nice book that pulls you in from the start, this is it. From the detailed account of how the symptoms started to manifest, diagnosis and treatment procedure, it is clear that Still Alice is a well researched book by first time author – Lisa Genova.

I have to note one thing though, there are quite some scientific terms in this book which some people complain is off-putting. However, I am not science inclined but I thoroughly enjoyed reading through and learning all those new terms- you might too…

Lisa Genova created an endearing and sympathetic character in Alice. With her portrayal as a high-profile personality – a Harvard professor with a busy life, it comes as such a shock to everyone as they watch this disease slowly rip her life apart. It is like watching a train wreck knowing you have no power to stop it. I find the secondary characters also interesting – Alice’s husband and three children. Each one of them have their own specific personality and – justifiably, distinct reaction to this illness. Like regular families, there are disagreements, arguments, and tension arising from the stress of the dealing with this illness – but they ultimately find ways to find resolutions. This dimension helps to add credibility to the story. Those are the sort of elements I look for in works of fiction where the characters are so well-rounded and developed that it tends to blur the line between fiction and non fiction.

This book is so well written that it does not fail to strike a chord with you. Even though no one around me is suffering from Alzheimer’s, I was heavily devastated by the pain and suffering Alice goes through. And that’s one of the things I appreciate about this book – the storyline is believable. This is indeed an intense and informative story. I urge you please read it.

Apart from the fact that this story is a great eye-opening to what people afflicted with this disease actually go through, it is also a useful resource for those whose loved one is dealing with this unfortunate situation.

Still Alice grips you from the onset. It is also moving, and heartbreaking. I tell you- I was bawling through the last couple chapters of the book – it is that touching!

Author – Lisa Genova
Publication Date – January 6, 2009
Number of Pages – 292 pages
Genre – Fiction (Women’s lives and relationships)
Geographical Setting – Cambridge, MA
About the Author:

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. She is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novels STILL ALICE, LEFT NEGLECTED, and LOVE ANTHONY. ~ Amazon

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