Friday, March 27, 2009


Still Alice is a compelling debut 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 vanishes. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.

My Review:

Alzheimer’s is a slow, emotionally wrenching, death of cognition that affects family and friends almost as severely as it affects the patient. I sincerely wish I had read this book while My Wayne's Aunt Ruth was suffering with this terrible disease. It would have given me more insight on how she was seeing things and some things I did for her; I would have done some things differently. Suddenly to be in a world where you know no one, your surroundings are strange to you. Simple things you have done all your life are a real chore now. Simple reading, simple everyday task become foreign to you. You are a stranger to even yourself. You are in this body, BUT WHO ARE YOU?

As the central character finds unique ways to maintain her dignity and her tenuous hold on reality, she makes a plea for all people with dementia to be treated with respect. “We, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s are not yet utterly incompetent. We are not without language or opinions that matter or extended periods of lucidity. Yet, we are not competent enough to be trusted with many of the demands and responsibilities of our former lives.”She ends that speech by asking doctors to step up research to find a cure for the disease, and asking the medical community and the general public not to run away from people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, but to work with them to maintain and celebrate who they are. “I am not what I say or what I do. I am fundamentally more than that.”

Still Alice is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and a portion of the sale of each book is donated to research.

A read to the finish and will give you more understanding of this terrible illness.

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