Thursday, April 12, 2012

'Still Alice' may make you cry but will definitely make you think

"Still Alice" (Pocket Books, 2007, 292 pp.), by Lisa Genova is one of those books that you know from the start isn't going to end happily, yet the writing is so good you can't help but continue.

Genova, who earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, penned the believable fictional story of  Harvard psychology professor Alice Howland who, at age 50, finds her cognitive abilities slipping away faster than they reasonably should.

Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, Alice quickly loses control of her memory. Though she tries all sorts of medicine and even enrolls in a clinical trial, Alice's condition fails to improve. Told from her perspective, the novel follows Alice's relationships with her husband, three grown children, colleagues, friends and doctors over a very short time period in which her life completely changes.

I have to say I found the book to be painful, true, moving and heartbreaking. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. the other night to finish it and ended up sobbing into my pillow.

Despite this emotional devastation, I fully recommend "Still Alice" to you, and I hope to pursue reading Genova's other book, "Left Neglected," which was highly recommended by the wise women at the Wellington Square Bookshop (Exton, PA) book club.

Genova's writing style is unique and undisguised. I found it refreshingly straightforward. The characters seemed so real it was as if this was a true story.

About the author:

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University. She is an online columnist for the National Alzheimer's Association. Genova resides with her family in Massachusetts.

To learn more about Genova's writing, check out her blog.

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