Book Review: Still Alice

January 18, 2011 book review 8

Attempting to review this book has given me so much to think about.  I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova a few days ago, I couldn’t put it down.
Alice is a 50 year old professor at Harvard, married to researcher who also works at Harvard.  They seem to have a very busy, fulfilling life, with three grown children, great careers, but then things are never just as they appear.
Alice begins to forget things, lectures she has given many times before, are no longer easy for her to give verbatim.  Alice finds herself out for a run, and she’s unable to recall just where she is, or how to get home.
Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  This news is startling and life changing for Alice and her husband.
Beautifully written as if Genova knows first hand what is going on inside the mind of an Alzheimer’s patient, I was completely drawn into this book.  It is written so passionately and honestly that the reader is drawn into each deeper step Alice takes on her journey.  Alice learns many tricks to help her get through each day, and we learn how it might feel to only be partially aware of the here and now,in a sort of limbo of the past, of what we should be able to do without prodding. We see the struggle she has with even the daily tasks we take for granted. 
I can’t say enough about this book, while it will likely frighten you, make you question little things like where did I put my keys and is this a sign, it is a book I think everyone should read.  I gave this a 5/5 stars.  
I know my interest in this topic was peaked because of my aging parents and my father’s dementia.  At times I wonder if anyone is sure at what place my dad is.  Most of the time when I see him he is quieter than he ever was, and he initiates few conversations, but there are moments, lovely moments when he is talkative, engaging. This is when I am thankful I still see who he is.  He has no recognition issues, but we are thankful he lives in a very nice senior community, he has my mom with him,and I have two siblings that live close.

8 Responses to “Book Review: Still Alice”

  1. Pam

    This is a great review. You really captured Genova’s great writing and Alice’s plight. I really loved this book and loved Alice herself. I could so relate to her and her lists and tricks to try to hold on to her memory and dignity. The book really brought home to me the tragedy that is early onset Alzheimer’s. I have an acquaintance who is struggling with this and it is heartbreaking, tragic, upsetting and at times frustrating. So sad. My worse nightmare.

  2. MiMi

    You are such an inspiration to me with how well-read you are. This book sounds like it would be a really interesting read…though I’m sure that it must be a little frightening. Early Onset Alzheimer’s is such a heartbreaking illness. Thanks for recommending the book … I hope to have the opportunity to read it, too.

  3. Bonnie

    I’m so glad your Dad has so many loved ones near him.
    I’m sure it’s painful for you.

    I read this book about a year ago and I still think about it. It was so thought provoking and Alice really stayed with me. Thank you for the review.

  4. Terra

    now that i see the cover I know where the book is and I have not read it yet, though I have intended to, my mom loved it – glad for your review to remind me to get on that one!

  5. Miss Healthypants

    Wow, that sounds like a really good book! I read “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks years ago…same topic, very sad. Alzheimers has got to be the worst disease ever.

    I just saw a book online that sounded interesting about a young’ish professonal woman (psychiatrist, I think) who had a stroke, recovered, and wrote about it. It sounded sooo interesting.

    Those types of books are indeed scary, but sometimes very touching, too.

  6. Sandy

    A great review, Anita. We was a selection read by our book club and it was very thought-provoking, emotional and frightening. Many of us will have to deal with this one way or another. It was eye opening for sure. I have always taken exception to anyone who jokingly says, “I’m getting Alzheimers.” It’s nothing to joke about and this book really brings that home.

  7. Anita

    As a fellow book lover, thank you for reviewing this book. Your summary and the comments from your readers tell me that I’d probably find it a good read also, as well as being made more aware of the diseases that are now attacking our minds.

    Good to hear that your father is still thriving and comfortable.

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