Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's.

Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova's debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror. - goodreads

Dementia scares me. Reading this makes me even more scared. I find it terrifying that one moment you can remember everything and then slowly things that you know you should know start slipping away, like how you get home from the store, important birthdays, names of every day objects disappear from your memory.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. And I immensely enjoyed the fact that it was in Alice's perspective. It was written as sort of a memoir, in a sense. You start off with Alice, a Harvard language professor, who is brilliant, at the top of her field, a wife and a mother. Suddenly, she starts forgetting things, making nothing of it- just brushing it off to 'old age'. Then one day she was out for a run and could not remember where she was, how she was supposed to get home. Sensing something more was happening, she went to the doctors and found out she had early on-set Alzheimer's. Her husband, couldn't fathom the idea. Of course as a loved one you will do everything to make sure its not something bad. He started researching all types of treatments and other options of what the memory loss could be caused from.

This book will make you laugh and cry while Alice goes through the journey herself. You feel her frustration that she has at other people. You also empathize with her husband, even though you don't want to at first. But just as Alice was losing her self, he was losing her as well as watchign her suffer through something he could do nothing about.

I couldnt' believe, and I'm not sure how it is in real life ( I'm assuming similar), that there were no support groups for the people with Alzheimer's. Sure they had support groups and all that for the family members, but to have nothing set up for those going through this?! What did they forget that these people are going through just as hard- if not a harder time than their loved ones?!

I recommend this book to anyone!

“And I have no control over which yesterdays I keep and which ones get deleted. This disease will not be bargained with. I can't offer it the names of the US presidents in exchange for the names of my children. I can't give it the names of state capitals and keep the memories of my husband.
...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 that today doesn't matter.”

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