Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review Week 3 "Still Alice"

I read the book Still Alice  by Lisa Genova over the weekend. Actually I read in over 2 nights and could barely put it down. ( 2 nights only if you count reading until 4:30 a.m. as night time reading)  The book captured me from the beginning page and didn't let up until it was over.  Truth be told, I'm not sure it has released me from its grip yet because I am still thinking about it daily.

Dr Alice Howland enjoys a life that many of us would envy.  She is a brilliant Harvard Linguistics Professor.  Her life consists of teaching, speaking engagements, world-wide conferences, homes in Cambridge and the shore, and her family (Equally brilliant husband, attorney daughter, M.D. son, and youngest want- to- be actress daughter). She is enjoying being fifty and fit, until running her usual route one day, she becomes disoriented and has no idea how to get home.

This is the first she sees in a recurring pattern of forgetfulness of names, words, and ideas.  It forces her to seek medical attention, since she is fifty and thinks this is most likely associated with menopause. After a series of appointments and tests, she finds her thinking was incorrect when she is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers.

The book then begins to travel the path of both Alice's and her family's struggles with the disease.
It impacts each of them differently and the family dynamics are forever changed.

It is interesting to see how a very intelligent woman develops coping skills as she struggles first to delay the progress of the disease and secondly to maintain control over her life as it becomes harder and harder to do.

Since Alzheimers impacts so many families I really do think this is well worth reading, just to see how a patient feels and the emotionally charged battle daily living becomes. Other than reading it for the Alzheimers insight it is just a dang fine book.  Well written and descriptive, it never gets bogged down with excess details.  (Ever counted Pat Conroy's adjectives when describing a river?)*

If you have time to spare pick it up, but don't blame me if you are still reading in the wee hours of the morning.

* I think Pat Conroy is a fantastic writer, especially The Great Santini.)


  1. We read this book in our book club, but I chose not to read it. We were dealing with both my mother-in-law and my father who had Alzheimers and I just couldn't deal with any more on the subject at the time. However, everyone I've talked to has said that it is a good book but has difficult subject matter.

  2. At times it was painful to read, but I know so many people who are directly impacted by this that I thought it would be a good thing for me to read. Now though, I am panicky when I can't remember a word or name.

    1. I have a friend who had a similar reaction to you. Now she think that she might be getting Alzheimers. Half as a joke, but half seriously.