Monday 3 August 2015

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

4 out of 5 stars

"My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I'll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I'll forget it some tomorrow, doesn't mean that I didn't live every second of it today. I will forget today but that doesn't mean today doesn't matter"
Alice Howland is a professor of psychology at Harvard University who, at the height of her research career, slowly begins exhibiting signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s. This is the story of how she and her family and friends attempt to cope with the diagnosis and the progression of the disease.

Although I try not to read too many reviews before I read a novel, I do look at the average ratings on Goodreads. The fact that this book had an average of over four stars and was made into a movie, were points in its favour.

I couldn't put this book down. The pain and heartache, frustration and anxiety was tangible. Yet, the author managed to tell this story with enough beauty and grace and redemptive qualities, that I didn’t resort to weeping and throwing it down in despair. There was a lot of information about the disease, the treatment and the genetics around different versions of this illness. Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist, and clearly knows her subject. Instead of writing text books, she writes novels, as she believes that they will reach more people, and make the information more accessible. I agree, and applaud her effort.

One of her inspirations is the great Oliver Sacks, who had this to say, which I think is pertinent to Still Alice: "In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life."

This book is worth a read. It will tug at your heart, in all the best ways.

ISBN: 9781501107733

You may also like Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

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