Still Alice by Lisa Genova
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
What a wonderful yet sad and heartbreaking story. We are introduced to Dr Alice Howland, a woman with an excellent and intelligent mind used for her career as a Harvard professor, lecturer, researcher and author. We are introduced to Alices life, work and family and how her disease is uncovered and how the family and Alice try to cope and live with it.
Whilst some of it gets into the more complicated side of drugs and trials and how the disease is effecting the brain and the terminology used, it isn't done in gargon that you cannot follow. I found even the medical explanations were fairly easy to follow and it is only a small part of the story.
The bulk of the story is in Alice trying to cope with the loss that comes with the disease, how the family react and cope with each stage and the journey as Alice slowly loses her independance, memory and confidence as Alzheimer's takes over.
I found this book so sad and felt for Alices struggle and being brave trying to maintain what she could of her normal everyday life. It really opens your eyes to what life with this disease can actually be like, whilst a fictional story it has been researched well and paints a vivid picture of what this disease is like to live with. I could hardly put it down 4/5 for me.
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