Still Alice is a debut fiction novel for Lisa Genova. It wasn’t an easy read for me. Maybe because I have seen what dementia can cause and I do know what is like to have someone you love losing their memories and just not being the same person anymore but it took me ages to read it. Usually I am a quick reader, if I have the time I easily can read a book per day but that wasn’t the case here
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring, and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what it’s like to literally lose your mind…
Alice is in her early 50’s. She is working as a university professor and has a lovely family. She’s just not ready for what’s coming for her, but then who is? When she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease her life changes and it is truly terrifying. There is nothing she can do to stop that monster who is taking away her memories, her identity. She can’t really fight and that’s makes the story so hard to continue with.
Stll Alice tells us about the disease from the patient’s point of view. It’s well written, emotional and terribly sad. It’s heartbreaking to see how someone is slowly shutting down without being able to do anything about it. It can be devastating but then again this is very moving story and at the end I do believe that “in examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life”, wisdom for which we paid a high price.