Saturday, July 18, 2009

Still Alice

Still Alice Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Book 14 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 79 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 1 of 5 for the Book Awards III Challenge

Awards: 2008 Bronte Prize

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a poignant journey through early-onset Alzheimer's with Alice Howland, a professor at Harvard. While fiction, this book is very factual in how the disease is diagnosed and how it affects the cognitive functions of the sufferer. What's unique about this book, is how it focuses much more on the impact of the disease for Alice rather than her caregivers.

I decided to read this book because it not only has received rave reviews, but my grandmother is currently living with Alzheimer's. Part of me feels like I owe it to her to try and understand her, to step in her shoes for a moment. I was humbled as I read, and my love and compassion for my grandmother grew even more. I wish I lived closer to her to get to know her at this time in her life. This book should be required reading for anyone who has a family member afflicted with this terrible disease.

Lisa Genova, the author, has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard. Her grandmother also suffered from Alzheimer's and she felt like she wanted to give Alzheimer's patients a voice. She does so beautifully, I was moved to tears more than once. And yet, even though there is currently no good outcome for those with this disease, the book is infused with hope as friends and family offer Alice their unconditional love.

This book is great storytelling with an important message. I would recommend it for anyone and I think it would make a great book club pick.

Watch Lisa Genova talk about her book here:

Also reviewed by:


Thoughts of Joy said...

Oh Tricia - I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. It must be a very difficult time for you and your family members. You at the very least have a better understanding and maybe more compassion regarding her life.

As for this book . . . fabulous. I continually recommend it. Thanks for posting the YouTube piece as I wasn't aware of it.

And, thanks for adding me to the "Also reviewed by:" section. :)

bermudaonion said...

Thankfully we haven't had to deal with any family members with Alzheimer's, but plenty of our friends have. I'm sure this book would make me cry, too, but I still really want to read it. Great review.

Paige said...

Sounds like such a worthwhile read. Thanks.

Charley said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother - my grandmother was also a victim of Alzheimer's. Perhaps this book will help me understand a bit more about what she experienced.

Diane said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Still Alice was such a great book; it read like non fiction.

Anna said...

My husband's grandfather suffered from Alzheimer's, but he died before I had a chance to meet his family. Still, I've heard stories from his gram about how hard it was. This sounds like a very interesting book.

Diary of an Eccentric

Booklogged said...

This is such a devastating illness. I've watched it take a healthy neighbor and former teacher from being a wonderful caring father, neighbor and husband to a state of total forgetfulness. He is basically a baby in a grown man's body. It's so sad.

I hesitate to read this because of my own forgetful episodes. If I'm approaching anything like Alzheimer's I don't want to know what it's really like. However, I think it sounds like a great book and it's good to educate those who have a relative with it.

Darla D said...

This sounds like an important book. Thanks for the review! Not sure if I'm brave enough to read it at this point, but I'll keep it in mind for the future.

Veens said...

I have never read anything on this disease, but seen a lot of movies!
This sounds really good!

Corinne said...

I hadn't heard of this one, it sounds like it could really help people. I'm glad you found it :)