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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

This may be one of the most frightening novels you'll ever read. It's certainly one of the most unforgettable. Genova's debut revolves around Alice Howland - Harvard professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife,
and mother of three grown children. One day, Alice sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. It's a route she has taken for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Is her forgetfulness the result of menopausal symptoms? A ministroke? A neurological cancer? After a few doctors' appointments and medical tests, Alice has her diagnosis, and it's a shocker -- she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. 
What follows is the story of Alice's slow but inevitable loss of memory and connection with reality, told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book,
or to recall information she heard just moments before. To Genova's great credit, readers learn of the progression of Alice's disease through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so they feel what she feels -- a slowly building terror.
In Still Alice, Genova, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, uniquely reveals the experience of living with Alzheimer's. Hers is an unusual book -- both a moving novel and an important read.

This is one very talented author.  I was introduced to her when I stumbled across the book "Left Neglected" which just blew me away so when I saw this book in my library bookshop for $2 I just had to snap it up and read it right away.

Her writing style is, again, very smooth and just sucks you into the story.  The subject matter was a very difficult one but she handled in a very undramatic way.  That is what draws me to this author.   She writes about the unimaginable but makes them seem like everyday life and I guess they are to a lot of people in the world! 

Her knowledge and experience of the subject matter of Alzheimer's shows through in this book, in fact, a little too much so.  I dropped a star from my review because some of the technical detail and drug terms almost detracted from the emotion of the story for me.

What made this a must read was how she got the reader inside Alice's mind as it was splintering apart and makes you feel like you can understand what Alice is going through - and God forbid that any of us actually go through it in real life.  She kept the emotions just from Alice's point of view and didn't try to go into what any of the other characters were thinking or feeling in any depth and this really worked.  If she had tried to write this with a different chapter from each different characters perspective then the rawness of the subject would have been lost.

Not an easy read because of the subject matter but easy because of the flowing style of the author.  4 out of 5.

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