STILL ALICE is a story that will resonate with anyone whose family has been touched by Alzheimer's. Author Lisa Genova's debut novel tells the heart-breaking story of Alice Howland, a Harvard psychology professor coming up to her fiftieth birthday and beginning to experience forgetfulness and disorientation. Alice has a busy active life, traveling to conferences, running for her health, negotiating with her grown children over their career choices, engaging in a full social life with her professor husband. When she loses track of the way home during a routine run in her Cambridge neighborhood she is frightened.
More worrying episodes follow; forgetting a flight to a conference, preparing for a lecture and then standing at the podium and not being sure of the subject. Alice seeks medical advice and though there is no definitive clinical test for Alzheimer's, the diagnosis is clear. Alice makes the first set of accommodations to her disease, entering everything in her Blackberry and resigning from her Harvard position.
Genova draws a very real picture of a husband unwilling to bend his life to his wife's unexpected needs, and grown children caring for a mother who sometimes doesn't recognize them. Alice's disease progresses rapidly and she uses her productive times to explore support options for sufferers of early onset Alzheimer's.
There is an informational thread running through the book but the strongest element by far is the emotional punch of Alice's lost life. The reader aches over the family conflict arising from her increasing need for care--and the foreshadowing of her difficult future colors the second half of the story.
STILL ALICE is a quick, absorbing read that plays on the reader's emotions. It works well as fiction and anyone will hope it stays in that realm for them.
Alice Howland doesn’t have just an ordinary mind. She is a married mother of three adult children, and a Harvard professor who never stops learning, reading, or sharing her knowledge with others. She eats, breathes and sleeps academia. This story of her decline into early on-set Alzheimer’s is akin to watching an athlete lose a limb or a bicycle lose its wheel. It is simply impossible to imagine. Ironically, the mind that Dr. Howland has worked so hard … more
What was your emotional reaction as you read? Why? I was very moved by Alice's courage and her struggle to function in spite of her difficulties. I was impressed with the patience and courage of her husband. Who would you recommend this reading to and why? Iw ould recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Alzheimer's disease or anyone whose life has been touched by someone with Alzheimer's. My father has Alzheimer's disease and so did … more
I'm not sure how long this novel sat on my shelf. Four or five months at least. I started it once and put it down...not because it wasn't good, but because I knew that I was going to experience a journey. Finally, I picked it up and fell into the story of a medical tragedy and the complex and changing life of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. I work in an internal medicine clinic. We see patients who succumb to the process … more