Book Review: Still Alice – by Lisa Genova

Book: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books
Date: January 6, 2009
Genre: fiction novel; mental health
Pages: 337; paperback
Price: $15.00 US; also available from Simon & Schuster Audio & as an e-Book
My Rating: A ‘must-read’ for anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s in any way, or wanting to know more about what it’s like – from the inside of it.
 

This is a book I discovered at a meeting of our local Alzheimer’s Support Group. I was urged to read it, so months later – when I felt I was ready – I borrowed it. [As an aside: We meet once a month, and I highly recommend that you join a support group if you are a caregiver of anyone with dementia.]

At first I put off reading this book. I lent it to my sister to read, she said, “Read it!” I lent it to one of our respite workers, he said, “Read it!” Finally, yesterday .. I read it.

This book will open your eyes to, and broaden your understanding of, some of the inner workings of Alzheimer’s disease and what it is like to be its victim. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author did extensive research and study to get it right. It is so very believable. To me, it felt as if I were reading the memoir of an actual person, I felt the frustration and pain of her family, and I laughed out loud at one incident which was both funny because of what happened and sad because of why it happened, and in another place I had tears in my eyes because of the truth of it.

This is a painful and terrifying disease. Even as I write this review I feel the emotion of it. Alzheimer’s steals its victim away, a little at a time. Lisa Genova so aptly described the disease through her characters and helped me better understand the cruel reality of what I (and my sister) deal with every day in some capacity.

Lisa’s main character, Alice, is a very intelligent, highly regarded and respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard University. She and her  husband (also a Harvard professor) had brought up their three children and now, at only fifty years of age, Alice knows something is seriously wrong with her memory. She puts off telling anyone and sets out on her own, at first, to find out what is going on. What she learns changes her whole world, and that of her family.

The author draws the reader into the lives of Alice and her family in a very smooth and captivating way. I wanted to know, I needed to know, and Lisa does not disappoint as she covers two years in Alice’s life.

At the end of the book, there is a section of Discussion Questions for a group, or for personal study of the novel. There is also an interview conversation with Lisa Genova.

Lisa Genova, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and Still Alice is her first novel.

Now, to you I say, READ IT!

You can find Still Alice listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 
 

					
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9 responses to “Book Review: Still Alice – by Lisa Genova

  1. I have read this book as well and highly recommend it. Thanks for the great review.

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  2. It’s good that you found a book that helps. My mom said it was hard to have her grandmother go through Alzheimer’s. I am going to tell her about this book!
    I hope you had a nice Easter!

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  3. I wish I’d paid attention to this book – I wish I’d known about it – when it was published. Mom didn’t have Alzheimer’s (or perhaps only the beginnings) but she clearly had early dementia. No matter how much you hear about peoples’ struggles – I think of Nancy Reagan – there’s just no way to know what it’s like until you go through it.

    I think I’ve seen this reviewed before and just paid no attention. Now, I think I’ll put it on the library list and give it a read. Thanks for the review!

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    • I am glad I read it. I keep being reminded how it must be for the one with the disease, and that helps me to cope a little better in caregiving. I hope many people will see this review and be convinced to read the book, as were you. Thanks, Linda.

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  4. Great review, Lynn. I agree, this is a wonderful book, especially for anyone caregiving for a loved one with the disease.
    I was lucky to have met the author years ago. She came to our writing group (during the period between when she self-published the book and when it was due to be released from a major publisher) and talked to us about the process of writing the book and seeing it through to publication. She is an amazing speaker. If you ever get the chance to hear her, you should!

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  5. Thanks, glad it is of help.

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