Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I just finished reading one of the most haunting books I think I've ever read. It's called "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova, and it's the portrait of a 50-year old woman, a distinguished professor of linguistics at Harvard University, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease.

It's a compelling, gut-wrenching tale of her spiral into disease. I couldn't put it down. It was an incredible read, and it's the kind of thing that should be required reading. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Alzheimer's Disease, and I certainly wasn't familiar with the early-onset variety before reading this, so it was very educational in that respect. The story is told through the viewpoint of Alice, and you experience her rapid descent into dementia. The story is disturbing in that way, to see how quickly she goes from teaching complicated lectures to asking the same questions repeatedly because she keeps forgetting she'd asked the question already. My grandmother on my mother's side had Alzheimer's, and from what my mother says, when she first met me as a baby, she thought I was my mother. The idea of not recognizing the people I love or the fact that I love them is positively frightening, but it's a reality for far too many people. That's why I think it's important for this novel to be read. The story shows you the total devastation that Alzheimer causes, not only for the patient but also for the patient's family. Oh, just thinking about it now, it just makes me want to weep.

This was a difficult read, in that it definitely taxed my emotions, but it was a very good read, and I will be recommending this book to many, many people. In fact, I think I'll nominate it for my book club!

Note: I've read that a portion of the sales of this book go to the Alzheimer's Association, which I think is awesome.


~Mrs Sandy~ said...

Just stopping by from SITS to say hello! I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday! Now I'm off to spend a little time on your blog:)
Hugs, Sandy

Pam said...

Visiting from SITS. This book came up at our book club last month. We didn't choose it, but I put it on my "to read" list. Your review makes me want to move it up the list a bit. Sounds awesome. Great review.

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